Volume 37 Number 1 | February 2023
Sarah Steinberg, MS, MLS(ASCP)CM, ASCLS Ascending Professional
I currently live in Casper, Wyoming, where there isn’t a lot of diversity; and where there is, we could do a better job of highlighting everyone’s unique backgrounds. However, I am proud to say that where I grew up in California, it was so diverse that my high school had an entire week dedicated to cultures called Multicultural Week. It was incredible to have the chance to experience other cultures in a variety of ways.
When individuals are able to feel safe and allowed to promote their backgrounds, it creates a safe and liberating environment. It is so important to promote the growth and development of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive society. The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) is dedicated to such goals, and the Society helps set the precedence for our profession. As an organization, we must identify how we can set those goals and continue to promote such a critical subject.
“It is so important that ASCLS promotes [diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging] DEIB as a whole, however, it really starts with the individual states to help DEIB flourish.”
We must first determine an action plan of how we can accomplish our goal for our Society to be more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and promote a sense of belonging (DEIB). First and foremost, we must educate ourselves on what exactly is DEIB. It can be complex and overwhelming to understand. Then, we must ask, what are our constituent societies doing to promote DEIB as well. It is so important that ASCLS promotes DEIB as a whole, however, it really starts with the individual states to help DEIB flourish. Just as my high school was able to do with the variety of cultures in our town, ASCLS should foster the same environment.
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging may all sound like similar terms, however, they are also distinctly different1. Diversity is an important definition, as it sets a precedence for the others to follow. According to the ASCLS Diversity Advocacy Council, the Society’s definition of diversity includes, “An inclusive, culturally relevant community of people acknowledging their differences and unique characteristics.” ASCLS is an organization where all persons can engage and participate in a meaningful way empowering everyone to grow and learn2. Diversity is where there is fair representation of different social identities. Equity ensures the processes of inclusion to eliminate barriers or imbalances. Inclusion is then promoted when differences in identities are understood, and everyone is offered equal opportunities to be successful. Thus, the feeling and sense of belonging happens when diversity, equity, and inclusion are well established1. Now that DEIB is defined and understood, we must make a goal and an action plan to execute that goal.
We must reflect what each constituent society is doing to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Professional societies, organizations, and institutions that embrace DEIB have an increased readiness for innovation and improved retention. I believe that each state (if it isn’t being done already) should determine how it can incorporate an environment of DEIB. One example may be to take a month and highlight the diverse social identities of the members that are a part of your state society. Ask them to highlight the facts of their social identities and ask them how we can do better to promote that sense of inclusion and belonging.
However, we must work together to determine how we can help those who feel voiceless to have a voice. For those of us with less diverse states, it is that much more important that we identify those and let them know that we want to see and hear them. I believe that those states can also lean on other states with more diversity, and we can ask them what they do to promote DEIB. We must start small, in our state societies, to then join together at the national level. There are many important things that we must ask, identify, and execute to expand the diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging of our profession as a whole.
- Bovers, R. (2022, September 14). Measuring Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB). Crunchr. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://crunchr.com/learn/measuring-deib/.
- American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS). Diversity Advocacy Council. Publication date unavailable. Updated 2019. https://connect.ascls.org/dac/home. Accessed November 5, 2022.
Sarah Steinberg is a Medical Laboratory Technology Clinical Coordinator at Casper College, College of Health Sciences in Casper, Wyoming.