National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, has selected Marie A. Bernard, MD, as NIH’s next Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity (COSWD). Dr. Bernard will lead NIH’s effort to promote diversity, inclusiveness, and equity throughout the biomedical research enterprise. She has served as the acting COSWD since October 2020, after the retirement of Hannah A. Valantine, MD, who served as NIH’s first-ever COSWD. Dr. Bernard has also served as Deputy Director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) since October 2008.
Marie A. Bernard, MD
Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD
“Dr. Bernard is an accomplished physician-scientist and has championed diversity and inclusion efforts over her entire career, including serving a leadership role in NIH’s most recent efforts to end structural racism in biomedical research through the UNITE initiative,” said Dr. Collins. “Her dedication and passion in creating equity and inclusion throughout the biomedical research enterprise are profound and inspiring. I am delighted she will now be continuing in this vital leadership role for NIH on a permanent basis.”
A Longtime Leader in Expanding Diversity
Dr. Bernard has played key leadership roles in a broad variety of NIH activities to further diversity, including serving as Co-Chair of the UNITE initiative, and leading the development of the NIA Health Disparities Research Framework, which guides NIA research in this area. She also directed and supervised the NIA Office of Special Populations, which leads health disparities research and training for scientists from diverse backgrounds within NIA.
A founding member of the Diversity Working Group and NIH Equity Committee, Dr. Bernard is Co-Chair of the NIH Inclusion Governance Committee, which oversees inclusion in clinical research by sex/gender, race/ethnicity, and age. In addition, she leads the Women of Color Committee of the Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers, which established the Women of Color Research Network. She has worked to recruit an increasing number of scientists who are women of color as potential speakers for the NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture series. Dr. Bernard has been recognized for her leadership with multiple awards, including the 2020 NIH Director’s Award for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.