PNIRS Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion


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.
Professsor, 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