Oregon Bio hosts free, virtual diversity dialogue to address racism and health disparities

On Thursday, July 30, BIPOC leaders and life science experts will convene for Diversity Dialogue: #BeTheChange. The panelists are respected bio professionals Dr. Emmanuel Akporiaye, founder of Veana Therapeutics; Ndongo Khouma, principal validation engineer at Genentech; and Nate Miles, vice president of Strategic Initiatives in State Government Affairs at Eli Lilly and Company.  Moderating the dialogue is Soundharya Nagasubramanian, director of R&D in Product Information Security at Hillrom/Welch Allyn.

“Diversity, inclusion and belonging are an important part of all communities,” said Nagasubramanian who hails from India. “These cultural characteristics are uniquely important to the bio community as we focus on scientific solutions that sustain, restore, and improve the quality of life for humans.”

The Diversity Dialogue event will address the #BlackLivesMatter movement’s emerging impact on the bio sector, health disparities and inequities, and the importance of networks and mentors of color.

Oregon’s private bio sector employment counted 16,094 women and 8,674 minorities in 2018, which is 43% and 23% of the total private workforce, respectively.

“The advancement of scientific knowledge has historically been affected by systemic bias, but we at Oregon Bio strive to change the narrative,” said Liisa Bozinovic, executive director of the Oregon Bioscience Association. “The bioscience and medtech sectors have key roles to play in improving the diversity, equity and inclusion conversation.”

“This pandemic has brought to light racial and ethnic disparities as determining factors of community health, and minority communities are increasingly suffering as a result,” added Bozinovic. “Although we are employing a growing number of minorities, we must come together to address disparity however we can.”

Oregon Bio issued a statement last month urging the sector to increase its engagement in diversity, equity and inclusion in hiring, workforce development, mentoring, and more treatments and access for people of color. “Thursday’s Diversity Dialogue will address how our region’s bioscience industry can improve diversity, equity and inclusion in our world, and asks how we each can be the change,” adds Bozinovic.

Thursday’s virtual event is free and begins at 11:30 a.m. PDT. Registration is open here: https://www.oregonbio.org/event-class/diversity-equity-and-inclusion-dialogue/.  Sponsors include Amgen and Oregon Association of Clinical Researchers.

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About Oregon Bio (https://oregonbio.org)

The Oregon Bioscience Association seeks to create opportunity through advocacy, cultivation, education and group purchasing discounts for its members and the sector. Oregon Bio promotes the growth and quality of the bioscience industry in the region and continually seeks ways to support sustainability, acceleration and growth in the life science, bioscience, biotechnology and device manufacturing industries. Oregon Bio, a nonprofit membership association, affiliates with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), and the Advanced Medical Technology Association. The region’s most current bioscience economic impact study showed in 2017 Oregon’s growing bio footprint reached $10.7 billion. For more information about Oregon Bioscience Association, please visit www.oregonbio.org. Connect with us on LinkedInTwitter or at (503) 548-4432.

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