Developing a Strategic Plan to Enhance the Diversity of the Genomics Workforce

Challenge

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), a driving force for advancing genomics research, selected Ripple Effect to assist in the creation of a strategic plan to increase the diversity of the genomics workforce. Our experience with NHGRI and NIH strategic planning, paired with our expertise in developing programs and policies related to the diversity of the biomedical research workforce, made this an optimal partnership. NHGRI needed a team with the ability to manage complex stakeholder engagements and consensus building to help create a strategic plan that incorporated a wide range of perspectives. One of NHGRI’s key concerns was to keep the Genomics Workforce Diversity Working Group and subcommittees engaged, organized, and on track.

Strategic Solution

Ripple Effect utilized our experience successfully managing strategic planning under tight deadlines and expertise from our multiple divisions to support NHGRI leadership in the development of the strategic plan in just 4 months. We provided project management and workgroup support as well as subject matter expertise in biomedical research workforce diversity to quickly develop resources and gather information. These activities not only helped the project stay on schedule but more importantly, we provided key information, contextualization, strategies, and recommendations to enhance the content and structure of the strategic plan. Our project accomplishments include developing a collaborative SharePoint site to reduce burden and increase efficiency, completing a comprehensive literature review of relevant publications over the last 2 decades, and developing a subsequent report to guide the strategic plan. Ripple Effect also provided logistical support for 13 virtual interviews and focus groups with experts, wrote a key themes and recommendations report, developed a tagline for the strategic plan, and provided graphics support as needed.

Impact

Ripple Effect completed our support of NHGRI’s Action Agenda for a Diverse Genomics Workforce on budget and ahead of schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our facilitation rapidly shifted from in-person to completely virtual, and Ripple Effect’s organized project management and subject matter expertise allowed the Genomics Workforce Diversity Working Group to successfully complete the strategic plan. Dr. Eric Green, Director of NHGRI, has said that this strategic plan will, “increase the number of individuals from diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented groups, who have the necessary training to pursue careers in genomics.”

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