Why Diversity Matters
Neurological disorders are on the rise and are increasingly recognized as major causes of death and disability worldwide. These disorders do not discriminate between gender or race; they can affect anyone.
Women in Neuroscience
The neuroscience field suffers from a lack of diverse representation in practitioners, researchers, and leaders. These disparities are due to barriers to underrepresented minorities entering science, and biases and stereotypes also are factors. This lack of diversity leads to inequitable outcomes among women and people of color.
Women make up at least 50% of neuroscience students at the predoctoral and doctoral levels, but they leave the field at a greater rate than men.
Women who remain in the neuroscience field are:
- Less represented in research, at leadership levels, and in tenured professorships
- Paid less
- Receive fewer primary citations
- Have their work questioned more
- Do not always receive credit for their work
People of Color in Neuroscience
Benefits of Diversity
Research shows that diversity in practitioners, researchers and leaders has real and lasting impact by:
- Accelerating breakthroughs
- Reducing barriers faced by underrepresented minorities throughout society
- Improving research and health outcomes across all populations
Studies show that diverse groups, including women and people of color, generate more creative ideas and improved scientific outcomes than homogenous groups.
Other benefits of diversity include:
- Increased trust from minority groups who have historically been marginalized and even oppressed by medical research, leading to better recruitment from these populations to conduct studies on the issues they face
- Increased focus on healthcare disparities, as underrepresented minority scientists often have a greater drive to reduce such disparities as well as a better understanding of how they arise
- A wider range of patients see medical professionals who look like them, and patients who identify with their physician may better adhere to treatment and have better outcomes
- When given a choice, racial and ethnic minority patients are more likely to select physicians who share their racial/ethnic backgrounds and report greater satisfaction and receiving higher quality care
Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.Maya Angelou Author, poet, and civil rights activist
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