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Policy on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB)

Approved September 21, 2022

In furtherance of its vision and mission, the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) strives to integrate genetics and genomics to improve health for all. As an organization, NSGC (members and staff) works to realize this goal by promoting the active participation and leadership of people with diverse identities, perspectives, and backgrounds. Starting within NSGC and extending into the larger healthcare system, NSGC,  its members and staff seek to empower NSGC members to advocate for themselves, each other, and the diverse people they serve. NSGC and its members realize that a diverse and inclusive organization does not build itself but must be created through a sustained effort by leadership, staff, and each individual member.

In furtherance of these goals and NSGC’s ongoing commitment to create and maintain an inclusive environment within the organization and in connection with its activities, NSGC has adopted the following policy on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (“DEIB Policy”):

  • NSGC members and staff recognize the importance of all aspects of diversity and seek to create an environment within NSGC and the profession that is increasingly diverse, equitable and inclusive and fosters a sense of belonging.
  • NSGC members acknowledge that each person’s unique perspective gives them the power to contribute to the greater good. NSGC and its members commit to valuing those differences for the advancement of the field and NSGC’s mission and vision as a professional organization.   
  • NSGC and its members are committed to fostering a professional community that supports diversity of voice, lifelong learning, opportunities and equity for inclusion and a sense of belonging for its membership.
  • NSGC members will strive to create a culture that fosters a respectful exchange of ideas, experiences, and perspectives from all members, staff, and leadership.
  • NSGC members will treat each other and staff with respect and dignity in connection with all NSGC activities.
  • NSGC members will work to foster equity, diversity,  inclusion that results in a sense of belonging  within NSGC and in connection with NSGC’s conferences, membership engagement activities, committee, task force and other meetings, and other NSGC activities and initiatives by (among other things):
    • Supporting and working to uphold this DEIB Policy and NSGC’s other efforts to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion within the organization
    • Fostering an environment that supports open communication in individual correspondence and group settings
    • Promoting inclusive teamwork and individual participation that permits and encourages diverse perspectives
    • Making time to address cross cultural communication issues when they emerge
    • Educating oneself on implicit bias and microaggressions
    • Striving to incorporate feedback from diverse perspectives
    • Treating members, staff, and leaders with respect even if perspectives are not aligned

Definitions of Diversity Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

NSGC recognizes that terms hold different meanings for different individuals, organizations, and institutions. To support consistency in language and a common understanding within our organization as NSGC works to foster diversity, equity, inclusion and a sense of belonging organization-wide, NSGC adopts the definitions below.  Within the context of this DEIB Policy, these definitions pertain to interactions that take place within NSGC and between members, colleagues, and staff:

Equity:  Equity is ensuring that opportunities, and access to opportunities, are provided to all NSGC members – especially to individuals that are underrepresented in the profession and underserved in healthcare and society at large. At NSGC, this applies to both members and staff. Equity is different from equality, where all groups of people receive the same number and type of resources or support, regardless of needs or circumstances.

Diversity: Diversity is understanding that each individual is unique and recognizing their personal differences, which may be visible or invisible. There are innumerable facets of diversity, including race, ethnicity, age, sex, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, religion, and national origin, among others. Diversity is understanding that some differences provide privilege while others perpetuate disadvantages.

Inclusion: Inclusion is the way we create environments in which an individual or group can feel accepted, respected, and valued. Inclusivity strives to create a sense of belonging for all individuals, regardless of different identities. Inclusion requires that we recognize and address our biases and actively work to decrease barriers within our profession and for the communities we serve.

Belonging: Belonging is the feeling of being seen, accepted, and welcomed. Cultivating a culture of belonging enables transparency and understanding and fosters a community of respect and authenticity. We believe that in order for someone to feel as though they truly belong, they should feel empowered to come as they are, and no one should ever have to check the most important part of themselves intentionally (or unintentionally) at the door.