Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce


  • Chair: Stephanie Gupton, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • David Asai, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • David Burgess, Boston College
  • Victor Pedro Francone, Quinnipiac University
  • Joyonna Gamble-George, National Institutes of Health
  • Kim Kandl, St. Olaf College
  • Anjan Kowluru, Wayne State University
  • Sandra Masur, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Ben Montpetit, University of California, Davis
  • Brandy Ellen Phipps, Central State University
  • Stephanie Redemann, University of Virginia
  • Bruno Da Rocha-Azevedo, University of Texas Southwestern
  • Emily Summerbell, Emory University
  • Christine Termini, University of California, Los Angeles

Ex officio:

  • Erika Shugart, ASCB
  • Margarita De Leon, Kaleidoscope Group


The ASCB Council called for the creation of a taskforce to develop an action plan to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the ASCB. The taskforce will examine the current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Society, set goals for improvement, and identify specific actions to achieve these goals. The plan will complement the already existing ASCB Strategic Plan.


A draft timeline was developed after Council discussion on June 9, with action items grouped by time to completion. This is the first step toward action, and we will seek feedback from and collaboration with the wider community as we continue to refine the plan. We are eager for feedback. You are welcome to email ascbinfo@ascb.org or send in an anonymous comment.

Near-term: Now – beginning September

  • Communication
    • Communicate the plan to the broader community
    • Hold a town hall for the Society to discuss and receive member input on what we are doing in diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Meeting
    • Ensure minisymposia chairs are cognizant of diversity issues during the speaker selection process
    • Develop a scholarship program for undergraduate members for free registration to the meeting
    • Plan a session on racial injustice at the 2020 Cell Bio meeting that could be freely accessible to anyone and/or recorded and made accessible at a later time
  • Journals
    • Start a “Voices” series in Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBoC) journal to publish stories of scientific journeys from diverse perspectives
    • Expand the MBoC reviewer pool to include more diverse scientists
  • Recognition
    • Create an awards taskforce to review the ASCB awards portfolio and recommend modifications to ensure that awards are aligned with the values of the Society
  • Create a taskforce, which will include a diverse group of members and standing committees (especially the Minorities Affairs Committee), to work on the following (creation of taskforce could be short term, work completion will be mid-term)
    • Complete Phase 1 of preparation for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan (get groups aligned, define vision of success and how we will assess progress)
    • Create a Council Charter on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that includes a pledge to move to accountability
      • As part of this process share available membership statistics with Council and work to get better data on membership demographics

Mid-term: September – end of 2020

  • Communication
    • Update and receive feedback from the community on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts
    • Address the complicated contributions of Henrietta Lacks
  • Leadership
    • Continue work with the Nominating Committee to increase diversity in officer slate and require statements on diversity from candidates
    • Explore impact beyond ASCB by partnering with other societies
  • Training
    • Develop a mentor and sponsor training program
  • Journals
    • Appoint more persons excluded due to ethnicity or race (PEER) to the MBoC editorial board
    • MBoC Editor-in-Chief will participate in outreach/instructional webinars to assist younger scientists from diverse communities in publishing their work

Longer term: 2021 and beyond

  • Meeting
    • Have sessions focused on inclusion at 2021 Cell Bio Meeting
  • Complete Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Planning Process