The Healthy Brain and Child Development (HBCD) study is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout every level of the initiative. Our staff, researchers, and administrators are guided by a core set of values designed to promote equity, anti-stigma, and antiracism within the study consortium, in our work with study participants, and in the dissemination of our results. We are conducting this study to advance health equity and ensure that all children in the United States have the greatest possible chance for life-long health and wellbeing; accordingly, the equitable treatment of all people involved in the study is critical and should guide all of our efforts. Investigators and staff are committed to the following goals:
- Participation is open to people of every race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and sexual orientation, regardless of national origin, education or income level, or health insurance status. Our goal is to reflect the rich diversity of families in the United States, and to be as accessible as possible across ability statuses. Therefore, a diverse group of participants is critical to achieving the study goals and promoting better developmental outcomes for all children.
- We will monitor diversity, equity, and inclusion across protocols, leadership roles, investigative teams, and community advisory boards. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee will monitor the composition of the study protocol and support Study Sites’ and Working Groups’ diversity to ensure each person is treated with dignity and respect and that diverse viewpoints are given equitable consideration.
- We will work with and for our participants and their communities. We view participants and their communities as valued partners within this effort to improve the next generation’s health; the unique perspectives of communities engaged in our study are critical to the success of the research program. As the project develops, we will solicit feedback on our research protocols from community advisory boards at each study site and ask for feedback from our study participants. In addition, we will share research findings with our participants and community partners in a manner that can inform solutions.
- We will promote dignity and respect for all persons regardless of income level, physical and mental health, ability status, and identity, including racial and ethnic groups, gender, sexual orientation and family structure. We will carefully develop our scientific questions and communications to avoid contributing to misperceptions, negative stereotypes, and the perpetuation of inequities related to child development and public policy.
- We will engage in activities to create a diverse community of scientists and staff and provide training and leadership opportunities for a diverse group of students, fellows, and junior faculty. We aim to improve on historical and present-day barriers in science to promote opportunities for diverse scientists at all levels of training and professional development.
- Responsible use of study data. Research can produce significant harm, for both participants and people more generally, by promoting stigma. Stigmatizing research is any research project, question, analysis, or interpretation that has the potential to instigate or promote marginalizing, discrimination, or loss of status to a person or group of people. Compliance with the responsible data use policy includes an agreement to NOT use the data for research that is discriminatory or stigmatizing of individuals, groups, families, or communities.