ADVOCATE. CONNECT. INNOVATE.

We Commit to Change

We Commit to Change

We commit to change.

We commit to create a more diverse industry, whereby every person in California can bring their unique experiences and backgrounds to spark solutions for a better, healthier world.

We have all joined this industry, in this great and diverse state of California, because we believe this to be true: Doing the right thing is good business. Our purpose is to enhance and save lives for all people around the world. This inspires us every day. To that end, we believe our leadership, our teams, our innovations, and our investments must reflect the diverse populations we are meant to serve.

With that, the California Life Sciences Association and Institute, on behalf of their members, have created the Racial & Social Equity Initiative as the first step in a unified effort to do more for the under-served and under-represented, focusing on the most critical need to address the inequality for Black, Hispanic, Native American, and Pacific Islander populations in California.

The Racial and Social Equity Initiative will be funded with an initial budget of $1M, with a goal of sustaining 3-year commitments of $1M annually, and led by an Executive Director, reporting to the President and CEO of CLSA, but accountable to the Board, who will lead our collective strategy, implement our plan, and measure our progress against our goals.

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Our
members
who
have
committed
to
change:

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Our Plan

The following is our bold plan to commit to change. We are, however, not naive. This plan requires a combination of action, support, investment, and resilience to see this through for years to come. Although our membership comprises rich diversity in its base of academic institutions, service providers, investors, small companies and large corporations across the spectrum of life sciences, not every organization has the resources to contribute financially to these efforts, nor can they commit to everything on this action plan. Every member that has signed on to this initiative is contributing and doing what they can, what we can, to make this work. Together we will support each other to do the right thing because we commit to change.

Talent.
Innovation.
Access.

Build a pipeline of diverse talent and future leaders

We believe we need to increase awareness of the life sciences as a field of rewarding study for under-represented students, and to increase access to educational opportunities, scholarships, paid internships, and sponsorships in our member companies.

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Build a pipieline of diverse talent and future leaders

CLSA and CLSI, on behalf of our members, will:

  • Advocate for and work with federal, state, local partners, and member companies to increase funding sources for life sciences education for under-represented populations
  • Work with and forge partnerships between the industry and academic community to develop and/or promote high-impact, mutually beneficial programs for under-represented students that increase awareness, education, and hands-on skillsin life sciences
  • Identify and promote competitions, scholarships, internships, apprenticeships, and sponsorships that increase career opportunities for under-represented populations
  • Fund through the Racial and Social Equity Initiative at least 10 internships for under-represented populations per year at small or mid-size member companies, utilizing partner organizations such as NexGeneGirls, Preuss School, Young Community Developers, and Year-Up, etc.; challenge our member companies to increase their current number of internships for under-represented students

Annual Metrics

  • Increase in funding sources for life sciences education and scholarships for under-represented populations
  • Increase in the number of member companies who create paid internships for under-represented population with a goal to grow a minimum of 50 newinternships each year
  • Increase in the number of life sciences scholarships funded for under-represented populations with a goal to grow a minimum of 10 new scholarships each year
  • The Racial and Social Equity Initiative funds at least 10 individuals in internships with our small- or mid-size member companies
  • Fund digital campaigns to increase access to computers and broadband forunder-represented populations
  • Report on internships, apprenticeship, scholarship, and sponsorship growth forunder-represented populations within member companies
  • Report on the number of high school and higher education students from under-represented population who complete a life sciences-focused education or training program and/or choose life sciences as a course of study

Hire, develop and retain under- represented talent

We believe we need to increase awareness of and access to life sciences careers, as well as expand paths for internal development and professional advancement of under-represented populations.

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Hire, develop and retain under- represented talent

CLSA and CLSI, on behalf of our members, will:

  • Work with academic, and industry partners, to promote technical programs that increase hands-on skills among our under-represented populations and accelerate the path to employment via certifications, associate degrees, or other programs
  • Increase employment opportunities for under-represented populations that complete technical program and other non-traditional life science education programs
  • Work with our member companies to increase recruiting and hiring from under- represented communities:
    1. Re-examine and reform education-level hiring criteria that automatically exclude large numbers of individuals from under-represented populations
    2. Build diverse interview teams, at a minimum to include racially/ethnically diverse male and female interviewers
    3. Require/Build diverse slates for each open position including gender-diverse, ethnically- and/or age-diverse candidates
    4. Access known or additional diverse talent resources and recruiters, hire engines and universities/colleges that focus on these diverse slates for this purpose
    5. Pilot the UCSF and CCSF Inclusive Research Mentoring program or similar programs to train managers and leadership to mentor high-potential talent from under-represented populations
  • Develop a high potential talent leadership program for life sciences managers from under-represented populations to accelerate their development into leadership positions in member companies across California
  • Identify and share development best practices, programs and resources recommended by other life sciences organizations to remove unconscious biases or systemic gaps and improve the retention and advancement of under-represented populations

Annual Metrics

  • Report aggregate data (with requisite confidentiality for each member company) on employment, promotion, and retention of under-represented populations by member companies
  • Report on under-represented populations participating in high-impact programs (e.g. mentorships, HIPO training) implemented by member companies
  • Secure commitment from at least 10 CLSA/CLSI member companies before the end of 2021 to pilot the UCSF/CCSF Inclusive research mentoring program
  • Launch inaugural high-potential leadership development program

Fund diverse innovators

We believe bias, discrimination and social inequities unjustly impact many facets of our industry, including: (1) our under-represented populations’ opportunities to launch companies and secure funding, and (2) entrepreneurs’ abilities to create and fund solutions that meet our under-served populations’ needs.

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Fund diverse innovators

CLSA and CLSI, on behalf of our members, will:

  • Partner with J&J Innovation, and other partners, to deliver and fund a QuickFire Challenge for California, which will award up to $300,000 and mentorship for up to six (6) California-based entrepreneurs; three (3) that represent under-represented innovators and three (3) with solutions for under-served patient populations
  • Secure Investors to join the QuickFire Challenge review board who will commit to match our funding awards for those entrepreneurs
  • Work with California incubators to research, create and adopt a best-practices playbook for inclusiveness to increase diversity of startup founders and early employees from our under-represented populations
  • Get commitment from portfolio reporting organizations to report, subject to relevant privacy and confidentiality considerations, on the aggregate numbers of funded companies who have founders/executives and/or investors from under- represented populations

Metrics

  • CLSA and J&J Innovation QuickFire Challenge completed, with at least 3 investors with matching commitments
  • Secure commitment of 50%+ of California incubators and accelerators to implement the playbook and increase the diversity of member companies
  • Track YOY the amount of funding awarded to founders from our under-represented populations
  • Track YOY the number of investors from our under-represented populations

Build diverse boards

We believe that supporting California’s new legislation, SB826 and AB979 will increase the number of board seats secured by women and under-represented population.

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Build diverse boards

CLSA and CLSI, on behalf of our members, will:

  • Work with recruitment firms and other partners to compile a list of candidates from under-represented populations, including candidates from other industries that have requisite functional expertise for board membership
  • Through the Racial and Social Equity Initiative, negotiate and fund 10 spots in a Board of Directors immersion program for individuals from our under-represented populations to prepare them for board candidacy
  • Increase under-represented populations on member company boards by providing networks and resources to fill open slates with diverse candidates

Annual Metrics

  • Track how member companies are meeting the requirements of SB826 and AB979
  • Identify 10 candidates to take the Racial and Social Equity Initiative negotiated spots and promote those candidates to member companies
  • Report on the progress of those candidates in securing board seats

Provide access to and coverage for care

We believe under-represented populations should have equitable access to and coverage of care.

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Provide access to and coverage for care

CLSA and CLSI, on behalf of our members, will:

    • Advocate for and support legislation and other public options which provide coverage for the underinsured which tends to disproportionately affect our under-represented population
    • Review current and future policy proposals for their impact to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
    • Increase focus on and build awareness of unmet clinical needs in under-served populations
    • Through the Racial and Social Equity Initiative, inventory and publish a list of telehealth providers in California
    • Advocate for and support policy and legislation to reimburse telehealth services and expand access to free and low-cost broadband and devices that support platforms for telehealth
    • Through the Racial and Social Equity Initiative, provide resources, including best practices, to help companies, especially startups, support and access diverse clinical populations and clinical trial sites
    • Partner with Johnson & Johnson and the Schools of Nursing at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to train and advocate member companies to hire more nurse clinical trial coordinators and

principal investigators from diverse communities

  • Support the FDA’s Enhancing the Diversity of Clinical Trial Populations Guidance for Industry published in November 2020 and encourage member organizations to adopt its provisions
  • Contribute to a best practice playbook to improve service-provision to under-served communities such as through community clinics, etc.

 

Annual Metrics

  • Track legislation that promotes coverage and reimbursement of care, including telehealth resources and access to digital connectivity
  • Track utilization of telehealth resources by under-represented populations
  • Track under-represented populations in clinical trials where appropriate
  • Track under-represented investigator and site coordinator roles in clinical trials

“We realize our plan is not perfect and most certainly not enough, we have to get started, to learn, and to continually evolve. For all that we get wrong or fall short, we implore our members, and everyone we are meant to serve, to join our dialogue and help us continue to improve so we can broaden and deepen our impact.”

Melinda RichterGlobal Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS, and Board Chair, CLSA