“It was important to open a dialogue with people in the industry whose voices typically are not heard.”
SAN DIEGO (PRWEB)
July 07, 2021
LaunchBio, a nonprofit organization with a mission to build an ecosystem of innovation for the benefit of human health and well-being, has received a grant of $20,000 from the pH Foundation to develop programs addressing inclusion in the life sciences industry. The foundation cited LaunchBio’s Let’s Talk About webinar series as an example of exceptional original content highlighting the experiences of people of color working in pharma, research and development, academia and related fields.
“I envisioned Let’s Talk About as a way to explore the issues of race and equity in the life sciences, especially in the context of the national conversation on race following the murder of George Floyd,” said Natasha Eldridge, LaunchBio’s program director and creator of the webinar series. “It was important to open a dialogue with people in the industry whose voices typically are not heard, letting them tell their stories and share thought-provoking points of view,” she said.
Let’s Talk About webinars have covered ways to increase diversity in clinical trials; discussed how early-stage and startup companies can incorporate effective diversity, equity and inclusion principles into their workplace culture; and tackled how to have authentic discussions about race and workplace inequities that may have been heightened by remote working conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic. The programs, which are archived at https://www.launchbio.org/webinars, are offered every other month and are free of charge.
Ms. Eldridge said that Let’s Talk About programs also showcase successful Black Indigenous People of Color (BiPOC) biotech and medtech entrepreneurs, investors and executives because, “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it. Each of these trail blazers had to work hard, find mentors and prove their value in a highly competitive industry. It’s inspiring to hear their career stories and best advice for aspiring life sciences professionals, as well as a reminder to keep listening and learning,” she said.
Michael Hostetler, co-Founder, pH Foundation, said he is impressed by LaunchBio’s ongoing commitment to promote inclusion in the life sciences. “This is a difficult subject for our industry to address, but the numbers speak for themselves. While about a third of the biotech workforce is made up of people of color, fewer than 15 percent of executives and board members come from this group. The lack of diversity is even more pronounced among venture capital partners, who decide which startups get financial backing. This is unsustainable for an industry that depends on innovation and a diverse, global perspective to succeed,” he said.
Erica Pascal, also co-Founder, pH Foundation said that she hopes the foundation’s grant will motivate others in the life sciences industry to support and expand LaunchBio’s work on inclusion. “Change starts with education, and that’s why the pHFoundation is pleased to support LaunchBio’s efforts to bring forth new voices and solutions. We encourage partners in pharma, academic research, and philanthropy to join us in this work,” she said.
Becky Beattie, LaunchBio’s CEO, said that the response to the Let’s Talk About webinar series has been overwhelmingly positive. “Each webinar has attracted hundreds of viewers from the nation’s leading life science hubs including San Diego, Cambridge, San Francisco, and Research Triangle Park. I receive comments from audience members after every program, asking how they can become involved. These are important indicators that the programs are paving the way for meaningful change in our industry, and we welcome the pHFoundation as a partner in these efforts,” she said.
Mrs. Beattie said that LaunchBio intends to expand its inclusion initiative, with a particular focus on educational programs and resources to support startup companies with diverse founding teams. Further details will be announced in early 2022.
About LaunchBio: LaunchBio is a nonprofit organization that identifies, counsels, and supports high-growth, high-impact life science and biotechnology companies. Its mission is to build an ecosystem of innovation for the benefit of human health and well-being. LaunchBio’s impact is measured by its success in connecting entrepreneurs with knowledge, capital and talent – including each other – not only within geographic regions, but across the nation’s leading life science hubs. Read more at http://www.launchbio.org.
About pH Foundation: The pH Foundation supports initiatives that promote (a) diversity, equity and inclusion in the life sciences industry, or (b) the accessibility of chamber music and opera in the US.
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