Elias Zerhouni, M.D., director of the National Institutes of Health since 2002, is one of 10 CEOS being honored as champions of diversity in the work place.
"NIH respects the diversity an individual brings to the workplace and the scientific process," says the Algerian-born Zerhouni in a written statement. "We need to continue to train, recruit and retain the best talent in biomedical research because, in the final analysis, it is always the creative spark of the unique individual that leads to new knowledge and real progress, wherever that individual comes from."
The CEO Leadership Awards are bestowed annually by Diversity Best Practices and the Business Women's Network, and were announced Wednesday at the 2003 Diversity and Women Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.
About 35% of the 18,000 employees at NIH represent ethnic minorities, according to NIH, including 20% African-Americans, 12% Asian/Pacific Islander-Americans and 3% Hispanic-Americans. Some 1,700 visiting fellows represent cultures and nationalities from around the globe.
Since 1995, the NIH Workplace Diversity Initiative has assisted managers in capitalizing on employees' different backgrounds and including programs aimed at growing the number of minority students interested in pursuing biomedical research as a career.