Statement regarding Equity, Inclusion, and former SID support from the Kligman Foundation
The leadership of the Society for Investigative Dermatology (SID) has carefully considered the past use of funds from Dr. Albert Kligman’s Foundation to support the SID mission. Dr. Kligman made extensive contributions to our understanding of skin biology, the development of novel therapies, and provided funds to help train young skin biologists. However, these contributions came at a cost that is not acceptable.
Specifically, some of Dr. Kligman’s clinical studies were carried out on predominantly black inmates at the Holmsberg Prison, most of whom did not undergo informed consent. Although government funding and the dermatological community, including the SID, did not have policies against such practices at the time, the Nuremberg code had already established informed consent as a key principle of human experimentation making these studies unethical even by the standards of the day.
In 2019, the SID Board made the decision to sunset all speakerships and travel awards that utilized funds from the Kligman Foundation.
The SID aims to avoid similar mistakes by learning from our history of complicity and becoming more aware of the impact of current inequities and injustices that affect less privileged and vulnerable individuals. We have put in place policies and institutional structures that promote diversity and inclusion within our Society and we remain committed to highlighting diseases that disproportionately affect these groups.
Among other initiatives, the SID Board of Directors has voted to approve a change in our bylaws to convert our ad-hoc “Diversity and Inclusion Committee” to a standing/permanent committee.
In summary, the organization and this Committee are dedicated to the recruitment and inclusion of a diverse slate of leaders within the SID and to promote these values across all activities of the Society.
Some relevant articles: