Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

NIH Policy Provides Race and Gender Inclusion

BOND: In the work you do now, are there tensions between focusing on the inclusion of women or the inclusion of minority women? And if there are, how do you work them out?


PINN: I’m fortunate. We don’t have tensions, at least none that I’ve witnessed, and maybe that’s because in 1993, the U.S. Congress passed a law that requires that any research studies funded by the NIH must include women and minorities, unless, of course, the condition being studied doesn’t affect women or minorities, so we have the power of law to help us enforce NIH policies that require the inclusion of both women and minorities in clinical research. The law only applies to the NIH. It does not apply to industry as part of the NIH Revitalization Act. As far as I can tell, we’re the only country in the world that has such a law that actually mandates and requires inclusion of women and minorities.

This has been a wonderful tool for us to use in both addressing and determining the needs of women in general, women versus men, looking at sex and gender differences, and those particulars or particular differences, or health disparities as many like to refer to them, among different populations of women or of men, because we are directed to look at minority populations. So we’ve not really had a tension.

I think my office and I think NIH in general has been working very well towards recognizing that we have the law, whether you like or not, and our basic effort, our challenge, is to make sure that scientists and researchers understand the importance of including different populations, not just women with men, but looking at minority populations. And that’s something that not only we in our office but others at NIH spend a great deal of time working on. That has worked very well and it means that we don’t have to compartmentalize or separate those issues. They are intertwined, and they work very well.