Hispanic-y Shenanigans from NIGMS

October 20, 2009

I was going to just add this as a late addendum to the Diversity in Science Blog Carnival #3 in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Since this involves the NIH IC that focuses so much energy on enhancing diversity in science, I thought it deserved a little more.
A recent post on the NIGMS blog Feedback Loop tells us that:

The end of this year’s observation coincided with the opening ceremony of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Conference, which is supported by NIGMS.
The SACNAS conference highlights the scientific contributions of Hispanics and Native Americans and fosters the development of new scientists.

The entry goes on to detail the honoring of three of their NIGMS grantees. Go Read.

No Responses Yet to “Hispanic-y Shenanigans from NIGMS”

  1. Hope Says:

    Thanks for hosting the Diversity in Science Blog Carnival – I enjoyed reading the entries.
    It would have been nice if the NIGMS post included something about why each of the three grantees was honored. Also, I’m a bit surprised—and somewhat annoyed—that SACNAS seems to think that the terms “Chicano” and “Hispanic” are synonyms. Certainly all Chicanos are Hispanics, but the reverse is obviously not true.


  2. Jeremy Berg Says:

    The press release from SACNAS about these awards is available at http://ww.sacnas.org/PressRelease.cfm?contentitem_id=35 .


  3. Drug, thank you for drawing attention to these awards and the role of NIGMS (and thank you Dr Berg for consistently coming around these parts to comment. Love your blog, btw).
    I first learned of SACNAS through many of my Hispanic colleagues (who, yes Hope, know the difference between Chicano and Hispanic but perhaps couldn’t come up with a more pronounceable acronym). I wanted to draw particular attention to one of the awardees, Dr Maria Fatima Lima from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, who received the 2009 Distinguished Professional Mentor Award.
    Meharry is notable in being only one of two Black medical schools (with Howard) from the 1800s to survive the 1910 Flexner Report that established standards for medical training. The fact that Dr Lima, a Hispanic dean of graduate studies & research, won such an award at an HBCU medical school speaks to the changing demographics of minority institutions. While not without growing pains from the traditional leadership and alumni of such schools, the burgeoning Hispanic population has been cited by several sources, including Newsweek, as potentially saving some of these schools from their financial travails. Certainly expanding their mission to all people of underrepresented groups who are first-generation college students is consistent with one goal of minority institutions.
    I’m delighted that SACNAS has chosen to honor these scientists and the NIGMS provides its support to so many of these programs.


  4. that SACNAS seems to think that the terms “Chicano” and “Hispanic” are synonyms. Certainly all Chicanos are Hispanics, but the reverse is obviously not true.

    Perhaps the award is only meant for Chicanos and not Hispanics, per se? Perhaps the award is not meant for those with pale ankles. I’m not sure there’s a difference between SACNAS and SACHNAS. Who the hell knows, Hope?


  5. DrugMonkey Says:

    From the About page:

    SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists—from college students to professionals—to attain advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership.

    The Historical Overview page gives no clues either, mentioning Hispanic/Chicano yet again.
    Personally I would tend to suspect that the organization was founded as Chicano and Native American and then later broadened. I see that as a good thing. Probably the change was made after the acronym already had some momentum so what are you going to do? The inclusion of the Hispanic/Chicano every place on the site seems to be making it clear that they recognize the difference…..or do you need a “and/or” in place of a simple “/”?


  6. Oh, I need the “and.” The subtle is completely lost on me.


  7. Hope Says:

    Oh boy … so the idea is that SACNAS is too well known, or it would be too inconvenient, to modify the acronym to reflect their current mission? Sure, I guess that’s more important than continuing to play into the stereotype of Hispanic = Mexican-American that’s alive and well in many parts of the US. And DM, I’m not so sure that most people would interpret that slash to mean “and/or.”


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