NIDCR Director Appoints Chair and Vice-Chair of Committee for Diversity and Inclusion

June 13, 2016


NIDCR Director Martha Somerman has appointed Emily Harris as Chair and Deborah Philp as Vice-Chair of the NIDCR Committee for Diversity and Inclusion (NCDI). They will serve a two-year term with the option of a second two-year term. The purpose of NCDI is to advise the NIDCR Director and other senior leaders on a wide range of diversity and inclusion issues and to recommend and implement strategies for enhancing diversity at NIDCR. The committee, which formed in early 2013, is comprised of representatives from each division or office.

“Already, both Dr. Harris and Dr. Philp have demonstrated their deep commitment to enhancing diversity and inclusion at NIDCR through their advocacy and active membership on committees,” said Dr. Somerman. “They are the ideal leaders to represent the Institute with other diversity ambassadors across NIH and beyond.”


Dr. Emily Harris, Chair, NIDCR Committee for Diversity and Inclusion


Emily Harris, PhD, MPH, is chief of the Translational Genomics Research Branch in the Division of Extramural Research. Dr. Harris has been a member of NCDI since 2014, and she represents NIDCR on the NIH Sexual and Gender Minority Research Coordinating Committee.  Before joining NIDCR in 2008, Dr. Harris chaired the Diversity Committee of Kaiser Permanente Northwest’s Center for Health Research and emphasized the importance of diversity in the workplace as part of Kaiser’s new employee orientation activities.

At NIDCR, Dr. Harris coordinates the basic and translational genomics research program by managing a portfolio of genetics and genomics research grants. Before joining NIDCR, she was an epidemiologist in the Office of Population Genomics at the National Human Genome Research Institute. Before that, Dr. Harris was an extramural researcher in genetics and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University and Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon. She received a PhD in medical genetics from Indiana University and an MPH in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Harris will replace NCDI Interim Chair Kathleen Stephan, MBA, who has been NIDCR’s associate director for management since December 2014.

“Ms. Stephan has been the Interim Chair of the NCDI for more than one year, and I am extremely grateful for her management of NCDI activities, including the all-day expert panel event, ‘Enhancing Diversity and Inclusion: Insights from the Experts,’ which took place in April 2015,” said Dr. Somerman. “Because of her leadership, NCDI subcommittees reached individual targets for activities within budget, and we are well poised for making much progress in the next two years under the leadership of the new Chair and Vice-Chair.”

Before joining NIDCR, Ms. Stephan was honored with the 2014 NIH Director’s Award for her dedication and leadership in identifying best practices and increasing diversity at NICHD and NIH.


Dr. Deborah Philp, Vice-Chair, NIDCR Committee for Diversity and Inclusion


Deborah Philp, PhD, is the director of the Office of Education, which is the advocate for intramural research trainees and access point for candidates. Dr. Philp provides assistance in interpreting the many educational and training opportunities available at NIDCR. She was honored with the 2011 Harvey J. Bullock Equal Opportunity Achievement Award for her extraordinary efforts to promote fairness and equal opportunity at NIDCR and to recruit biomedical researchers from underrepresented groups.

In addition to being a founding member of the NCDI, Dr. Philp is a member of several NIH committees and subcommittees related to diversity and inclusion. She is part of the NIH Diversity Catalysts and its subcommittee for “Standardizing Evaluation of Diversity Programs,” the NIH Training Directors Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, the NIH Women’s Employment Committee, and the NIH High School Training and Enrichment Program (HISTEP) Planning Working Group.

Dr. Philp joined NIDCR in 2000 as a postdoctoral research fellow to identify the genes that regulate thymosin beta-4. She became the director of the Office of Education in 2005. She earned a PhD in molecular, cell and developmental biology from the City University of New York City College.

Last Reviewed on
February 2018