We are in the middle of our elections and I want to personally encourage all eligible members (Regular and Emeritus members) to cast their votes. The Sleep Research Society belongs to you, its members, and this is your opportunity to determine who leads the vision and mission of the society by serving on the Board of Directors. Every member has the opportunity to review the ballot, but many may not understand how the ballot is created. I would like to take the opportunity to review the process here.
Every year, starting in January and ending in February, the SRS puts out a Call for Nominations to all members. Regular and Emeritus members are asked to self-nominate or be nominated by others.
Self-nominations are accepted and even encouraged; there is no requirement to be nominated by someone else. The Board of Directors is acutely aware of the importance of diversity and inclusion in our society and leadership. We actively approach individuals with an eye toward diversity in its broadest definition, which includes sex/gender, race/ethnicity, geographic location, expertise, degree types, among others. Understandably, not all members whom we approach are able to make the time commitment and travel required for Board participation, for both personal and professional reasons.
After the Call for Nominations closes, nominees that have submitted all the required paperwork are forwarded to the Conflict of Interest Committee to determine if any conflicts would preclude a candidate from serving on the board. Simultaneously, the Nominations Committee reviews the candidates’ applications (except the Conflict of Interest form) and membership status to ensure that each candidate qualifies to be placed on the ballot. In some instances, the Nominations Committee may recommend to the Board of Directors that a candidate not be included on the ballot, but these cases are infrequent and if they occur, the candidate is notified.
The list of nominees, Conflict of Interest Committee Report, and Nominations Committee Report are submitted to the Board of Directors for review and to approve a ballot. Again, the Board reviews the nominees with a diversity and inclusion lens balanced against qualifications. The Board felt that the current ballot was diverse from a broad definition except for sex/gender. The Board was disappointed by this outcome.
The current make-up of the board is sex/gender diverse (6 women and 5 men) and will remain so, with 1 man and 1 woman rotating off and being replaced during this election. The Board is committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in the SRS. Indeed, the SRS has recently formed a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force , chaired by current board member Namni Goel, PhD. The Task Force will help the Society in creating a more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming environment to its members. We fully expect this Task Force to recommend actions to increase the diversity of our committee members and board members. We are very excited about this activity and look forward to sharing more about it in the future. Members are also encouraged to communicate their ideas to the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, through our Executive Director John Noel at [email protected], to increase the diversity of the Sleep Research Society.
Please stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrew D. Krystal, MD