Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences commits to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) across our mission while interconnecting its faculty and staff. We endeavor to provide a space to learn from each other and apply our growing knowledge of DEI to inform our research and professional practice to improve our research environments. Following are our collective and individual efforts that exemplify our steps along this journey.

In an effort to address these, a small but growing group of Institute members developed TIDE to learn more about and support diversity, equity and inclusion at the Institute. The description follows. Individual efforts are listed below the TIDE description.

TIDE was formed in 2019 by Dr. Nicole Bowles and Jen Prissel, and it is currently co- led by Omar-Ordaz Johnson (Research Assistant, Bowles Lab) and David Hurtado (Assistant Professor) from January 2021 until June 2022. TIDE is a collective effort towards consistently and explicitly accounting for the historical and cumulative burden of systemic racism and discrimination that continue to disproportionally affect Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQIA2S+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, etc.) individuals today. This effort supplements the work of individual labs in this area.


Our mission is to center diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in our efforts to help advance the mission of the Institute while interconnecting its members. In doing so, we will create a space to learn from each other and apply our growing knowledge to inform our research and professional practice to improve our research environments.

Areas of focus for group reflections and actions:

  1. Research - (e.g., the questions we ask), recruitment and designs (e.g., how and of whom we ask those questions), analyses (e.g., how we consider race, ethnicity, and gender as variables and in our equations/interpretations), products (e.g., how we orient messaging/content of our products), and dissemination strategies (e.g., with whom do we partner, how and to whom we deliver information/products).
  2. Research/workplace environment - fostering a sense of place, psychological safety, and belonging through an inclusive and open lab culture and education regarding race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. This emphasis on safe spaces extends the environment of TIDE meetings to other areas of our workplace.


  • Monthly meetings and presentations open to all Institute members, emphasizing dialectical discussions of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)-related topics.
  • Annual survey to assess experiences of research staff and faculty regarding lab culture and Institute policies.
  • Develop a brief reference guide and tools (e.g., checklist) for implementing DEI topics into research tools.
  • Assist with reviewing or developing new institute policies to improve our research environments from a DEI perspective.
  • Provide ad-hoc consultations or DEI-related workshops with specific labs or Institute members if or when needed.

Individual Activites in support of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Examples of outreach  and dissemination partnerships

Official Name: DEI in Research Task Force


This group has been formed to ensure our research – including recruitment, methods, measures, analyses, and reporting practices – takes into account the issues of systemic racism, discrimination, unconscious bias, and other adverse historically-based issues affecting Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQIA2S+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, etc.) individuals. In addressing these issues, we commit to taking on a justice lens to examine the knowledge we value, the purpose of our work, our use of language, the ways we engage with our community, and the partners that we pursue and serve. Our mission is to center DEI in our research plans (e.g., the questions we ask), designs (e.g., how and of whom we ask those questions), analyses (e.g., how we consider race, ethnicity and gender in our equations/interpretations), products (e.g., how we orient messaging/content of our products), and dissemination strategies (e.g., how and to whom we deliver information/products).


We envision through the efforts of this taskforce we reach a level of functioning where DEI is an essential and explicit consideration during the planning, analysis, and dissemination phases of every research project; research meetings include active and continued discussion of assumptions, concerns, and feedback specific to DEI considerations; diversity is consistently reflected in the speakers/experts we recruit, the populations we prioritize, and the messages we disseminate; recruitment during formative research stages include a diverse range of perspectives and experiences, to better inform research planning and dissemination; and where race, gender and sexual orientation are considered as more than merely control variables.


  • To identify systematic processes for incorporating DEI core values into our research
  • To extend existing and future research questions to support the core values of DEI
  • To generate and disseminate knowledge that is based in culturally-sensitive methods
  • To disseminate opportunities and knowledge to a broad, diverse audiences using appropriate language and messaging
  • To support the development of relationships with community partners who serve diverse audiences and champion equitable policies/practices, and research groups with expertise in recruiting diverse samples
  • To examine research findings and openly discuss any impacts or assumptions relevant to diversity and inclusion.
  • To identify and highlight research from BIPOC and LGBTQIA2S+ academics in relevant fields


  • Diversity: Acknowledge the disparate experiences and treatments of individuals
  • Inclusion: Embrace racial, cultural, preferential, ideation, and economic diversity
  • Equity: Improve academic and social outcomes and representations for diverse populations
  • Excellence: Improve research products and results with heightened awareness and efforts
  • Social Responsibility: Encourage anti-racism and inclusion practices within the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences

We have numerous initiatives driven from our Institute leadership, and from each lab. Below are some representative examples. These have not yet been coordinated into an overall strategy but we are working towards adopting a policy for our Institute. One lab in our Institute drafted a policy – appended. In addition, we have consulted the nascent example being developed by the Center for Policy and Research in Emergency Medicine. We also recently appointed and support two co-directors of our internal committee TIDE (team for inclusion, diversity and equality). We provide 10% FTE support for each of these two co-directors.

Examples of Specific Actions:

  • TIDE convenes monthly meetings and events such as “How to have difficult conversation’ when addressing peers, partners or supervisors when dealing with microaggressions.“
  • We organized a whole day symposium on social determinants of health attended by 75 people from OHSU and across Oregon.
  • David Hurtado serves on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee of the School of Public Health.
  • David Hurtado teaches “Social Determinants of Health” at the School of Public Health that engages Master’s level students in discussions of the pernicious effects of racism upon health.
  • Some investigators have modified their research to collect additional data regarding discrimination in specific projects, and are analyzing key variables by race/ethnicity in their research
  • Active members in ERGs; PRIDE, Black and Latino, Asian Pacific Islander
  • Each individual lab has developed their own initiatives centered around using clear and specific language and actions concerning accountability, dismantling of racism, acknowledgment of the historical mistreatment of BIPOC, people with disabilities, LGBTQA+ communities and individuals, women, and other targets of oppression as essential components of their activities and documents.
  • Having an open ear and respectful conversations with friends, family, and colleagues regarding topics on diversity and inclusion.XX
  • Oregon Healthy Workforce Center modified the Strategic Plan for Dissemination of “Total Worker Health” tools and toolkits to ensure they reach BIPOC organizations with the aim of equitable and inclusive outreach opportunities in our targeted area of influence (“Region 10”: Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho).
  •  In future recruitments for open lab positions, we plan to increase explicit outreach to advertise among communities and groups with members from diverse backgrounds.
  • We encourage all members of our Institute to take a hard, honest look at the ways in which they might personally enact and perpetuate oppression within their scope of work (and beyond), and to understand how all of these things drive health inequities.
  • We have begun to assess, discuss, and implement language in research surveys and recruitment materials to maximize inclusion and minimize exclusion of marginalized groups, including those from minority racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Every lab completed their “Return to Research Plan” with emphasis on actions to answer question 12, involving at a minimum discussing anti-racism efforts with all lab members during monthly lab meetings.
  • A member of our Institute joined the O[yes] Board and facilitated inclusion of a statement about DEI and anti-racism their website.
  • Some faculty have pivoted their research projects in order to establish relationships and seek input on co-creation of projects with marginalized communities as part of their formative work process. This is important because it builds accountability in their work to ensure they are behaving consistently and appropriately in efforts to ‘decolonize’ their approaches and methodologies.

Our Anti-Racist Educational Activities across 2020:

Examples of Specific Actions:

  • Contributed to the discussion and decision-making by the American Heart Association Worksite Wellness Summit Planning Committee to adopt the theme of “DEI, social justice, and anti-racism” at the 2020 event, and coordinated the keynote session “Doubling Down on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to Respond to Today’s Crisis”
  • Attended OCTRI Research Forum: Can Data Be Racist?
  • Attended health disparity symposium; National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Lung Division: Housing, Sleep and Cardiovascular Risk
  • To facilitate learning and discussion, one group divided into 5 self-selected groups of 3-5 lab members. These groups undertook activities of learning from readings or videos and each group has met 2-3 times to discuss amongst themselves. Topics have included reading articles about racial justice in academia, and podcasts about building a better school system. After two months, the whole lab group reconvened to discuss what they learned. This group had a lively discussion with lab members sharing what they learned as part of smaller group discussions and from self-learning. Various topics were discussed including the issue of microaggressions and microinvalidations that some lab members have experienced. They discussed the fact that all of us should feel safe in our work environment and we agreed that henceforth any issue to which any lab member does not feel included can/should be discussed openly in this research group or with a colleague (depending on the affected lab member’s level of comfort). Because they study human participants, those participants could potentially be a source of these microaggressions. To minimize that possibility, this group decided to share OHSU’s code of conduct with their research participants. The self-selected groups continue to meet separately and continue to learn to their level of comfort. This group will continue to meet every two months and the whole one hour of lab meeting time will be dedicated to these discussions.
  • One lab group deepened their knowledge and understanding of the history of racism in Oregon and interrogated the effect on their own beliefs, values, and behaviors, which seemed especially relevant to one white, lifelong Oregonian.
  • One lab is informally researching the history and effects of racism and colonialism on workers and workplace policies.
  • Attended the Marquam Talk: "Redrawing Story Lines: Improving Health for Older African Americans.
  • Example Readings and Discussions that Labs have engaged in to better understand implicit biases that could affect the experimental design, interpretation of data, and delivery of care.

Historical perspective of systemic racism in human genetics

  • Addressing the History of Racism in Genetics to Build an Anti-Racist Future Meghan Mannello
  • High density lipoprotein in cardiovascular disease and stroke among Whites and Blacks: The good cholesterol not so good in Blacks. " Nathalie Pamir
  • Trust in the Work Environment and Cardiovascular Disease Risk: Findings from the Gallup-Sharecare Well Being Index” Toni Alterman
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  • Obesity in America: Focusing on psychosocial stress as a risk factor” Adolfo Cuevas
  • The Impact of Heterogeneity in Cancer Genome Science" John D. Carpten
  • Genetic basis of population-specific skin cancer in central Brazil” Carlos Menck
  • Work as a Social Determinant of Maternal and Child Health” Julia M. Goodman
  • 4 Reasons Centering Whiteness Can Derail Racial Justice Conversations
  • Confronting racism is not about the needs and feelings of white people
  • Guidelines for being strong white allies
  • 75 things white people can do for racial justice
  • 5 ways white people can take action in response to white and state-sanctioned violence

Video resources that Labs have engaged in: