Select Page

In our report Embedding Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility in Research-Intensive Organizations, we argue that for research-intensive organizations, COVID-19 and our collective awakening to the insidious realities of racism have exposed the limitations of accepted approaches to inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA). Prevailing models are fragile and, when challenged, the good intentions on which they’re built can succumb to the discriminatory habits they conceal. More than ever, research organizations need to be bold if they are to create environments that uplift human potential, support innovation and optimize organizational performance.

As we explain in the report, to develop an authentic IDEA strategy, organizations must have the courage to engage skeptics, confront in-house issues and transform behaviour. The strategic planning process, therefore, includes three key considerations: 

  1. Conducting a rigorous and honest institutional assessment that surveys the research community (from trainees to leadership) to identify issues/gaps related to IDEA;
  2. Understanding an institution’s unique context, research foci, challenges and goals; and,
  3. Monitoring and assessing quantitative and qualitative metrics and regularly reviewing and refining priorities and approaches based on the institution’s evolving context.

Implementation of a specific IDEA strategy that speaks to an organization’s unique history, aspirations and communities can increase access to top talent, drive research productivity and unleash scientific novelty. 

Shift Health Associate, Dr. Imogen Coe, an internationally recognized thought leader in the area of IDEA in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), is leading our efforts to strengthen IDEA in research-intensive organizations. Dr. Coe has advised academia, government and industry on best practices and approaches to improve IDEA, has contributed to national dialogue about these issues through various platforms and has recently collaborated with Dr. Ryan Wiley, President of Shift Health (along with Dr. Linda-Gail Bekker, Deputy Director, Desmond Tutu HIV Centre and Immediate Past President of the International AIDS Society ), on a Lancet publication that reviews effective strategies to shift organizational culture and climate towards gender equality. This publication, entitled Organizational best practices towards gender equality in science and medicine, was an invited contribution to a special issue of The Lancet focused on gender equality in science and medicine.

The Lancet Journal Cover Art: Women In Science (IDEA)

Supported by our team of experienced consultants, all of whom have advanced research degrees (e.g. PhDs, MScs) coupled with expertise in strategic planning for research-based organizations in Canada and beyond, Dr. Coe and Shift Health will help you to: 

  • Engage stakeholders within your organization to understand your current IDEA context. 
  • Integrate best practices in IDEA for research to support the development of IDEA plans customized to your institutional context. 
  • Establish mechanisms to monitor, evaluate and refine strategies as the institutional context evolves.

If you would like to discuss your IDEA strategy further, please contact us here.