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BMES endorses bill aimed at combating sexual harassment in science

The Biomedical Engineering Society recently joined other societies and organizations in endorsing the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2019.
The bill addresses sexual harassment in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields by supporting sexual harassment research and efforts to prevent and respond to sexual harassment.

The bill directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to award grants to institutions of higher education or nonprofit organizations (or their consortia) to:
  • expand research into sexual harassment in the STEM workforce, including students and trainees; and
  • examine interventions for reducing the incidence and negative consequences of such harassment.

The NSF must convene a working group composed of representatives of federal statistical agencies to develop questions on sexual harassment in STEM departments in order to gather national data on the prevalence, nature, and implications of such harassment in institutions of higher education.

In support of the bill, BMES President Dawn Elliott wrote:

One of the pillars of the Biomedical Engineering Society is to support diverse and safe environments to conduct research that addresses critical health/medical challenges. We are proud of the diversity in our field, but clearly much work needs to be done to combat sexual harassment of women in academia. BMES fully endorses this first step to study the problem and issue the report that includes the, “Updated professional standards of conduct in research.” This bill will bolster recent policy statements from the National Institutes of Health and The National Academy of Engineering that demand safe workplaces free of harassment and intimidation.

This bill should receive strong bipartisan support as part of a continuing effort to eliminate sexual misconduct in academia. BMES urges congress to swiftly pass the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2019.