News / 10.19.20
Assessing our Workplace, Part II: Black and Latinx People at Broad
By Frances Brooks Taplett, Chief People Officer
Shuba Gopal, Senior People Scientist
Brianna Pina, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Leader

We are assessing the extent to which Broad is living up to its commitments to be a fully inclusive workplace. This report focuses on the experiences of Black and Latinx Broadies.


In 2017, Eric Lander asked Broad’s Human Resources department to assess how well Broad is living up to its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Our first report focused on experiences of women at Broad. To write the report, we began by gathering and analyzing institutional data as a basis for reporting our findings to the Broad community. We then engaged the community to identify actions to take.

In 2019 and 2020, we undertook a report focused on the experiences of Black and Latinx Broadies. For this study, we gathered institutional data and conducted a series of confidential interviews, focus groups and open discussions with Broadies. Read the full report here.

Why are diversity, inclusion, and belonging important to us? Our commitment stems from six fundamental beliefs. We believe that:

  • Extraordinary talent is found in all groups; to benefit from the best people, we must draw from all groups.
  • The best people will be drawn to workplaces that are diverse, inclusive, and equitable.
  • Diversity of all kinds—in education, training, background, perspectives, interests, and identity—improves our community’s creativity and productivity because it expands the ways in which we approach problems, challenge assumptions, and interpret information.
  • Diverse and inclusive teams are more creative and thoughtful, as shown by numerous studies.
  • Premier institutions have a societal obligation to help develop future leaders from all groups.
  • As a matter of social justice, it is important that no one be excluded from opportunities and roles in our country based on who they are; everyone should be able to bring their full selves to work.

In the months ahead and with the help of the Underrepresented Population (URP) Advisory Council, we will be asking Broadies to engage in conversation about how Broad can best fulfill our aspirations and commitments.

But, we first need to know where we’re starting from, and this report provides that foundation. 

We focused on four topics:

Lived experiences: We share individual perspectives from Broadies, who can tell stories that numbers can miss. Importantly, such perspectives can help highlight important issues requiring action. But, it is also important to recognize that we can learn only what people feel comfortable enough to share. The views expressed are not intended to be representative of the entire community — but rather to provide insight into the range of experiences.

Quantitative Analysis - Representation and pay equity: We examined the representation of Black and Latinx individuals among Broad employees, including representation: (i) overall, (ii) relative to the Massachusetts bioscience workforce, (iii) relative to our applicant pool, (iv) among recent hires, (v) among individuals who received promotions, and (vi) among individuals who chose to leave Broad. We also performed a pay equity analysis.

Recruiting and internal culture: We believe that there are excellent candidates in all groups, but that recruiting efforts that equate excellence with traditional proxies (e.g., a degree from Harvard or MIT) will miss many extraordinary people, especially Black and Latinx individuals. We discuss recent efforts to proactively expand our recruiting horizons. We also describe efforts at Broad to build and maintain internal culture, while recognizing that there is much more to do.

Diversifying the scientific workforce and scientific research: We discuss institutional efforts that seek to increase the diversity of the larger biomedical community, including programs that train students at various educational levels on biomedical research and expose them to careers in bioscience. We also review Broad’s past and current efforts to include underrepresented populations in research studies to ensure that genomic medicine serves all communities.

The last section of the report turns to the work ahead. This report is meant to be a look back in order to guide how we move forward. The work ahead will need to be informed by input from the whole Broad community, rather than from just the Broad leadership. Some work, like accelerating the recruiting strategies that are already showing results, is well underway. The larger effort of ensuring that the Broad fulfills its aspirations and commitments for our workplace requires the involvement, insights, creativity, and energy of everyone. 

As a way to stimulate input, the report outlines some important questions around:

  • creating a fully inclusive internal culture and community,
  • expanding and accelerating the diversity of future scientists, and
  • broadening our science to fully include under-served communities.

Over the coming months and with the leadership of the URP Advisory Council, we will hold community discussions to gather additional questions and explore solutions — with the goal of being able to move toward implementation early next year.

We’d like to thank all the Broadies who shared advice, feedback, experiences, and candid opinions for this report. We hope it provides a foundation to inform the work ahead.

— Frances, Shuba, and Brianna


How to join the discussion

  • Attend the panel discussion at the Belonging@Broad symposium on Tuesday, October 20 to discuss the report and the path forward.  
  • Join the next Broad-wide Town Hall at 3pm on Monday, November 16.
  • The URP Advisory Council and IDEA office will be organizing forums for community engagement in the weeks ahead.
  • The IDEA Ambassadors will organize other avenues for conversation and for developing recommendations.