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November 15, 2022

Jackson Lab launches endowment to broaden DEI efforts

2 people in masks cooking FILE PHOTO / TIFFANY LAUFER, JACKSON LABORATORY Moses Davis, Jackson Lab’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion, at left, at the taping of an episode of “Stoveside Chats” with Elissa Chesler, a JAX professor of addiction research. The pair discussed the importance of having difficult conversations.

Reflecting national trends, last year Bar Harbor-based Jackson Laboratory hired Moses Davis as its inaugural DEI director as many Maine companies also implement diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

The lab has also established the JAX Endowment for Diversity Initiatives, a new fund to provide access to specialized mentors for trainees from populations that are underrepresented in science. The goal is to help create an inclusive culture.

The fund was established with a gift from Tucker Taft and his wife Phyllis Yale. Taft connected with the lab in 1969, during the summer student program. He went on to pursue a career as a computer scientist and is now director of programming language research at AdaCore in Lexington, Mass. Yale is as an advisory partner at Bain & Co. Inc.

“JAX’s mission to change the future of human health has always included a broader responsibility to help research laboratories around the world in striving toward these same challenging goals,” Yale and Taft said in a joint statement. “We hope this fund will enhance that work by increasing support for diversity, equity and inclusion for scientists from underrepresented populations, both at JAX and within the wider community of researchers.”

The initiative marks the latest program designed to promote a culture of inclusion at the lab, led by Davis.

“This new endowment will play a key role in ensuring that all members of our community feel they belong, that they have a voice and that they matter,” Davis said. 

To help build a pipeline of diverse scientists, the initiative will provide resources for the following programs:

  • The summer student program, in which each year 40% to 50% of trainees identify as a member of a minority population
  • A post-baccalaureate fellows program established in 2017, to offer mentored research experiences for underrepresented college graduates who aspire to pursue their MD or PhD
  • A postdoctoral associates' training program, with the goal of increasing the number of postdoctoral-level researchers from diverse backgrounds and identities
  • An upcoming pilot program that will bring visiting scientists from underrepresented populations to JAX for collaborative research opportunities

To learn more, click here.

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