Pharma Focus Asia

Beyond Inclusion: Enacting Team Equity in Precision Medicine Research

Melanie Jeske, Emily Vasquez, Stephanie M. Fullerton, Aliya Saperstein, Michael Bentz, Nicole Foti, Janet K. Shim, Sandra Soo-Jin Lee

To identify meanings of and challenges to enacting equitable diversification of genomics research, and specifically precision medicine research (PMR), teams.

There have been resounding calls for increased workforce diversity (WFD) and greater inclusion of underrepresented researchers in genomics and academic science more broadly. Growing awareness of systemic racism, in the wake of ongoing racial disparities in the COVID-19 pandemic and continued extrajudicial killings by police, has prompted scientific communities to elevate conversations about racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Materials and Methods:

Data reported are drawn from a large, multi-sited qualitative project that investigates how commitments to diversity and inclusion are interpreted and operationalized in five PMR studies across three national consortia. The three NIH PMR consortia were selected because of their geographic diversity, federal funding, and their expressed commitment to recruiting and engaging diverse participant populations.

Our data suggest that WFD initiatives must explicitly address the social structures of science that engender inequity on PMR teams. Participants highlighted a need for structural change and a commitment to diversity that extends beyond tokenism or “checking the box.” Ultimately, they, and we, argue that WFD makes for better science, but only when equity is exercised as a core value of scientific teamwork.

Acknowledgments: We thank the participants of this study, who generously shared their time and insights.

Citation: Jeske M, Vasquez E, Fullerton SM, Saperstein A, Bentz M, Foti N, et al. (2022) Beyond inclusion: Enacting team equity in precision medicine research. PLoS ONE 17(2): e0263750.

Editor: Quinn Grundy, University of Toronto, CANADA

Received: September 14, 2021; Accepted: January 25, 2022; Published: February 7, 2022.

Copyright: © 2022 Jeske et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: Per restrictions imposed by the University of California, San Francisco Institutional Review Board (which serves as the IRB of record for our study), data cannot be shared publicly because deidentification of our interview data is extremely challenging as our interviews include detailed information on collaborations, funded studies, and research findings. Even when our data is scrubbed of names and other identifiers, our study participants may be easily identifiable as they may be well known to each other and to our audiences. To mitigate the risk of identifiability, deidentified interview excerpts that include the quotes used in the paper will be shared by the study principal investigators upon written request. Data access inquiries may be directed to Monica Prabudoss ( at Columbia University.

Funding: This study was funded by NHGRI Award 1R01HG010330-01 (SSL, JKS). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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