Society publishes Vision for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in pharmacology

Today, the Society publishes our Vision for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) in pharmacology as part of delivering our 2018-22 strategy, in which we commit “to remove barriers to participation and success, while welcoming equality and celebrating diversity, and being inclusive in all we do”.
The Vision acknowledges that pharmacology is part of wider society, which is not equal. It grounds the Society’s motivations in values of fairness, respect for others and integrity – and a desire to be part of creating a socially just world. It uses each dimension of the Society’s activities to outline how we will approach this work on a practical level, the details of which are currently underway as we develop accompanying business objectives to prioritise these steps for 2021 and beyond.

Dr Anna Zecharia, the Society’s Director of Policy & Public Affairs and who led the work, said:

This Vision is a step forward for the Society in that it clearly articulates where we stand, where we are going and importantly, places our work in a broader societal context.
It builds on a period of deep reflection and learning over the first part of our current five-year strategy during which we commissioned an external review of our performance and approach, receiving the report in March 2019. This work helped us clarify - and stand by - our social justice motivations, but also anchored us in reality as we developed our 2020 business objectives and took some immediate action, such as to appoint a new Trustee with responsibility for EDI.
It has been inspiring to work with a staff team, Council and members who are truly committed to this agenda, and who recognise the Society’s responsibility and influence. We are currently busy planning for 2021 and I am proud that equality, diversity and inclusion truly is at the heart of the Society’s plans going forwards.
The next phase will be one of continued learning and development as we create partnerships with members and those in the wider community who share our ambitions and who have the expertise – whether through lived experience, professional experience, or indeed both – and influence to drive this agenda. We are serious about making change, and we recognise that we do not have all the answers. I would really encourage anyone who wants to be involved, or who has questions, to come and talk to us – everyone is welcome on our journey.

Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, the Society’s President, said:

This Vision is an important milestone for the Society – it represents both the culmination of work over a number of years, and the beginning of the next chapter.
I know I speak for the Society’s Council and leadership team when I say that taking real action on equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to our values, and to everything we are trying to achieve.
When people come from a diversity of backgrounds - and feel able to share their views, experience and perspectives - collaboration, creativity and innovation thrive. Getting this right is about creating inclusive career support, recognition and culture.
When pharmacology research, drug development and clinical care address the needs and perspectives of all those who require it, our community will be playing our full part in improving health and reducing health inequalities. Getting this right is about establishing inclusive research and experimental design – and putting patients at the heart of research and care.
With this Vision and the work we are committing to, we are determined to make pharmacology relevant for everyone.

Rachel Lambert-Forsyth, the Society’s CEO, said:

This Vision is the result of extensive, thoughtful work over recent years, and the work ahead will be both exciting and challenging. It puts us in a strong position to make real change in pharmacology in partnership with our members and stakeholders. Importantly, it also speaks to our responsibility as an employer. I am committed to building on the steps we have already taken to ensure that the Society is a truly inclusive workplace.
Our work on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion will be a key strategic priority for the Society over the coming years, and into the future. I will work alongside our Council and staff to ensure we implement our Vision across all aspects of our work.

This launch comes at the end of month long activities touching on different aspects of EDI – including our celebration of Black History Month, reflections on World Mental Health Day and announcement that the Society is a founding member of the new Inequalities in Health Alliance.
How can you get involved?
We want to make change. As part of this, and our work going forwards, we have opened a call for submissions to hear about what you are already doing in this area, and to explore how we may be able to work together. We are offering a chance to have your work showcased at Pharmacology 2020 online, ahead of opening nominations for our second annual EDI Prize in January 2021.
Please send a short summary of your work on equality, diversity and inclusion indicating whether you would be interested in discussing this at our annual meeting as soon as you are able.
We have committed to researching hidden stories, which will include asking our members to tell us about the people whose contributions have been overlooked or erased. You might be an educator already using such stories in your teaching, or you may know about them from your research, or from your work to improve representation in pharmacology.  We will use the information we gather in this phase as we continue to scope further Society work. 
Get in touch with us via to share hidden stories about contributions to pharmacology and drug development.
If you feel there is anything else we should be thinking about or focusing on, please also get in touch.
To discuss this work, please contact Anna Zecharia via email ( or through the BPS Community.
Read our Vision for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) in pharmacology in full here.
Read a summary of the results of our external review here.
Read our exploration of what diversity means to the Society here.

Published: 28 Oct 2020 in Society news