PNIRS Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion 

November 2023

The primary mission of the PNIRS is to foster advancements in the field of psychoneuroimmunology by providing a forum for communication, education, training, and collaboration among a diverse community of scientists from around the globe. We recognize that this goal is impossible without a strong commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). EDI is vital to the success of psychoneuroimmunology and of the PNIRS. Our society has contributed to decades of scientific advancement, and a great deal of this research has been aimed at understanding the biological underpinnings of health disparities in under-represented and minority populations. Furthermore, psychoneuroimmunology is an immensely complex field that cannot be understood from only one viewpoint. The impact of our efforts increases exponentially by the inclusion of a diverse array of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Therefore, we continue to take deliberate action towards a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive field.

PNIRS is committed to make EDI part of everything we do through:

  • Placing value on participation in the society by academics and researchers from all career stages, backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, gender identities, races, ethnicities, nationalities, neuro-diversities, abilities, religious beliefs, and age groups;
  • Ensuring equity amongst speakers, panels, session chairs, awardees, and committee members;
  • Facilitating attendance by trainee members at the PNIRS annual meeting through the award of PNIRS Trainee Scholar Travel Awards;
  • Increasing the number of academics and researchers from underrepresented groups through supporting research excellence dedicated to issues of EDI through Michael Irwin EDI Awards;
  • Promoting the integration of EDI-related considerations in research design and practice;
  • Collecting the data and conducting the analyses needed to consider EDI in PNIRS decision-making;
  • Maintaining an EDI standing committee to manage and execute these commitments and ensure that all members of PNIRS are treated in a fair and ethical manner.

June 10, 2020

Dear PNIRS community,

We hope that everyone is staying safe and healthy during this stressful and chaotic time.  This past week (June 3-6) should have been our annual meeting, our opportunity to gather as a community to present and discuss the latest science in our field and to connect with old friends and new.  Instead, we have been confronting the challenges of COVID-19 and more recently, the terrible murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, which highlight the long legacy of racism and anti-Black violence in the United States. 

Today, in recognition of #ShutDownSTEM/#ShutDownAcademia, we want to re-affirm the society’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and to urge us as a society to take broader action to understand and address the consequences of systemic racism and discrimination on mental and physical health.  Over the past few years we have taken some steps towards these goals, including developing a meeting Code of Conduct and launching the Michael Irwin Equity and Diversity Travel Awards.  However, we can and must do more.  As officers of PNIRS, we are eager to engage with our membership on actionable ideas, and will be creating a forum for the community to help us develop a broader statement against racism and to generate suggestions for ongoing action. 

We are very sorry that we will not have the opportunity to see everyone in person this year.  This is certainly an opportune time to put our science into action and utilize the psychological and behavioral techniques we know are linked to immunity, for our own well-being and that of our friends, families, and communities.   We wish everyone the best during this challenging time; let’s hope it will inspire and motivate us as scientists, citizens, and people going forward. 

Best regards,

Julie, Deb, Neil, and Lisa

President, Julienne Bower, Ph.D.
Professor, Psychology and Psychiatry/Biobehavioral Sciences
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) USA

Past President, Deborah Hodgson, Ph.D.
Professor, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research & Innovation
The University of Newcastle, Australia

President-Elect, Neil Andrew Harrison, MBBS, Ph.D.
Clinical Professor in Neuroimaging
Cardiff University, U.K.

Secretary-Treasurer, Lisa M. Christian, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
The Ohio State University, USA

January 21, 2021

PNIRS is dedicated to achieving a more diverse, equitable, accessible, and inclusive (EDI) environment for all who engage in and with the Society. PNIRS has made significant inroads to date with the introduction of an EDI statement, EDI-focused scholarships, and EDI-strengthened shortlisting for symposia and awards. To capitalize on these advances, we are in the process of establishing a PNIRS EDI Working Group (EDI-WG). The overarching focus of this group is to support and promote the development of a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive Research and Training PNIRS community. 

The EDI -WG in the first instance will aim to;

1. Understand the current positioning of PNIRS in the context of EDI representation, strategy and implementation.

2 Establish baseline EDI data and benchmarks – demographic and cultural - for the Society (in relation to relevant comparators).

3. Develop the appropriate EDI lens(es) to inform our brand, including the development and review of the website, communications, and marketing materials, for evidence of equity, diversity and inclusiveness

4. Consider approaches to increase EDI recruitment to our society for the 2021 meeting and going forward.

5. Ways to increase the focus on health disparities in minority communities in our symposia and workshops for the 2021 meeting and going forward.

6. Consider funding opportunities to advance PNIRS EDI initiatives.

It is our objective that the EDI Working Group ( EDI-WG) shall work to develop a PNIRS Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan. As part of this action plan the EDI-WG shall inform of the organizational structure required going forward that will best implement and monitor the implementation of this plan (i.e, standing committee versus sub committee).

This email informs of the opportunity for you to become involved in this important working party. If you are interested in contributing please complete this quick form no later than February 1, 2021. ECRs are very welcome.

Kind Regards,


Past President, Deborah Hodgson, Ph.D.
Professor, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research & Innovation
The University of Newcastle, Australia