“A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand.” – Abraham Lincoln
The Society of Biological Psychiatry (SOBP) strives to create an atmosphere of diversity and inclusion. As a society of behavioral health providers and scientists, a most pressing question is, what can we do? We are a strong caring community of clinicians and scientists who seek to maximize our positive impact in the lives of all through increasing our focus on diversity and inclusion in the SOBP. We still have much progress to make, but the ongoing work of our Inclusivity Task Force and recommendations being formulated by our Strategic Task Force will help us improve.
What we can all do NOW is strive to model for our larger society, especially those with whom we interact—patients, families, students and trainees, vendors and community leaders—that we are a society of individuals who seek to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly. See below for actions the SOBP is taking to bring about change to the field of Biological Psychiatry.
MESSAGE FROM 2020 PRESIDENT DR. DAVID LEWIS
I am writing to you today to acknowledge the pain that we all share as a result of the unconscionable murder of George Floyd, and the resulting demonstrations that have erupted nationwide. Certainly, the murder of George Floyd is part of a larger history of violence and oppression that has been endured by people of color in our country. These events are profoundly distressing, and this most recent tragedy has served as a motivating flashpoint for the urgent need for change.
Click here to see a statement on anti-racism from 2020 SOBP President, Dr. David Lewis.
INCLUSIVITY TASK FORCE
Mission: The Inclusivity Task Force evaluates and addresses any needs to help make SOBP a more diverse and inclusive environment. This includes identifying specific approaches toward improving SOBP diversity, evaluating SOBP’s diversity across membership, submissions, travel awards, mentorship and meeting attendance, and making recommendations to Council regarding any gaps in SOBP’s diversity.
Progress to date: The task force has added additional travel awards at the SOBP Annual Meeting to include recipients based on diversity. The task force also developed new profile questions for gender and ethnicity in 2019. This data is reviewed annually by the Inclusivity Task Force.
WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP GROUP
Our Mission: The Women’s Leadership Group (WLG) was formed in 2015 at the 70th annual meeting of the Society in response to the need to provide a platform for change that recognizes the challenges faced by women, raises awareness of implicit gender biases, and offers women opportunities and tools for advancement and leadership.
Our Objectives: (1) Provide leadership training and peer support to senior women in our field; (2) Nurture and promote junior women; (3) Contribute to increased diversity and equality within the Society
Our Achievements: (1) *Increased representation of women in the SOBP membership by 4.7% since 2015; (2) Increased representation of women attending the annual SOBP meeting to 50.4%; (3) Commitment by the scientific committee of the annual SOBP meeting to actively encourage the equitable representation of women amongst symposia presenters; (4) Equitable representation of women amongst SOBP awardees from travel to leadership awards; (5) Equitable representation of women amongst SOBP officers and in the editorial board of the SOBP journals; (6) Provision of childcare facilities at each SOBP meeting.
*Of the 1300 current SOBP members, 424 prefer not to specify gender.
Our activities: (1) Annual survey of women attendees at the SOBP meeting to identify the needs of women in science, to ensure that the Society remains responsive to these needs; (2) “lunch and learn” session at the annual meeting which provides a forum for discussion on the needs of women scientists in our field; (3) Series of podcasts of women SOBP members aimed to promote equity and contribute to other inclusivity and diversity SOBP initiatives; (4) working with the Mentorship Committee to meet the mentorship needs of women attending the SOBP annual meeting; (5) supporting the SOBP Inclusivity Task Force.
To learn more about the Women’s Leadership Group, click here.
SOBP Committee Chairs have formed the Advancing Compassion, Thought, Inclusiveness, and Openness in Neuroscience (ACTION) Group to make meaningful and lasting change in SOBP. This group addresses institutional racism at the earliest levels and ways to keep underrepresented minorities involved in the society and applying for awards, presentations, and membership.
SOBP MEMBERSHIP STATISTICS
SOBP TRAVEL AWARDS STATISTICS
To volunteer to serve on the SOBP Inclusivity Task Force or ACTION Group, contact the SOBP Executive Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.