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NIH Diversity Council Operating Procedures


These procedures assume that the Diversity Council serves as an advisory body to the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is the general assumption that the Council will only make recommendations and has no enforcement responsibilities to defend.


The Chair and the OEODM Director appoint members to the Council for rotating terms of 3 years. Member's terms begin in January. If a member chooses to leave the Council prior to the end of his/her term or if a member chooses not to complete their 3-year term, the Chair and the Director of the NIH will choose a replacement member.


Ten (10) voting Council members

Conduct of Meetings

Meetings will generally be conducted according to Roberts Rules of Order, but in a somewhat informal manner.

Frequency of Meetings

Regular meetings occur once a month on a fixed day. (Specifically, the third Wednesday afternoon of each month, from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.) The Chair can call special meetings, as needed.

Status of Meetings

Meetings are open. Observers may attend. In addition, guests, speakers, or others whom the Chair has invited to participate may attend. On those occasions when a confidential matter needs to be discussed, the Chair may close the meeting for an executive session.

Staff Support

Staff support will be external to the Council and will support both the Council and its ad hoc committees.

Executive Secretary

The OEODM Director will designate a staff person to serve as the Executive Secretary of the Council. The Executive Secretary will he responsible for logistical arrangements for the meetings, for facilitating distribution of the agenda and advance materials, and for keeping the Chair informed of matters that may bear on the functioning of the Council, such as urgent matters, likely absences of members, etc. The Executive Secretary will also serve as the initial point of contact for ad hoc groups seeking information or assistance from the OEODM or other NIH programs and offices.

Distribution of Materials

Materials for any but last-minute urgent matters on the agenda for a given meeting of the Council will be distributed to members, either electronically if possible and/or in hard copy, at least one week in advance of the meeting. (This includes the agenda as noted above and the minutes of the previous meeting as noted below.)


The Chair will arrange for minutes to be taken of each meeting, whether by staff appointed by the Chair or by a contractor. Staff or contract personnel will prepare draft minutes of each meeting, and once the Chair or Vice-Chair has reviewed them, they will be sent to the Council members at least one week prior to the next Council meeting. Members will send the Executive Secretary any suggested changes or corrections. Revised minutes will be approved, or modified and approved at the next Council meeting. Minutes shall be available to others upon request. After the minutes have been approved, they will be posted on the Diversity Council website.

Consensus and Voting

Generally, the Council will work toward achieving consensus on recommendation to the OEODM Director. However, on those occasions when the Chair determines it is unlikely for consensus to be reached or when a formal sense of the members is warranted, a vote by voice or a raising of hands may be called for by the chair. Selection of the Chair: The Council will elect its Chair from among its members. The vote will be by secret ballot.

Term of the Chair

The Chair will serve for one year in this leadership capacity. Election of the chair for the upcoming calendar year will be made at the end of the calendar year. There is nothing to preclude a Chair being re-nominated and reelected. The Chair can be elected for two consecutive terms.

Agenda Items

The agenda items are set by the Chair and will include:

  • Issues brought to the table by any of the members;
  • Issues brought to the table by OEODM; and
  • Issues brought to the Chair's attention by others when the Chair determines that the issue in question falls within the Council's charter and is of a priority consistent with others being considered.

Responsibilities of the Chair:

  • The Chair decides if ad hoc groups are needed to advance the business of the Council, such as to research and develop options for Council consideration of a particular complex matter or matters. Appoints members of these ad hoc groups to the Council. Additionally, the Chair may appoint members to ad hoc groups who are not Council members.

  • The Chair sets the agenda for each meeting by considering issues brought to his/her attention (see above), weighing priorities established in consultation with the Council and/or OEODM Director, and recognizing urgent matters that warrant early attention by the Council.

  • The Chair determines if consideration of a confidential matter requires that a Council meeting be closed.

  • The Chair runs the meetings of the Council, calling on members during discussions in order to ensure consideration of a variety of points of view and assessing when consensus has been achieved or votes are warranted.

  • The Chair votes only to break ties; otherwise all votes made by the Chair are made in abstention.


A vice-chair will be elected and will act as Chair whenever the Chair must be absent. The vice-chair will be elected each year at the same time as the Chair is elected. When not acting as Chair, the vice-chair will have the standing of a regular Council member and will be able to cast a vote.

Ad Hoc Groups

Will research background information and/or data regarding a matter, analyze it, develop option(s), and formulate recommendations for consideration by the full Council. They will arrange their own meetings. The Chair will appoint support staff as needed and requested, by each ad hoc group of the Council.

Ex-Officio Members

The ex-officio members of the Council will consist of three (3) members; the NIH Deputy Director, the OEODM Director and a former Council member. An ex-officio member will not have voting privileges and is expected to participate at all regularly scheduled Council meetings.


Any member anticipating his/her absence from an upcoming meeting shall notify the Executive Secretary, who will in turn notify the Chair. Should a member expect that circumstances will preclude his/her regular participation in Council meetings over a prolonged period, or should a member have three (3) absences, the Chair may discuss with the member whether membership should be, continued or not.

Electronic Communication

A ListServ of other means of easy communication to and among the members should be explored and discussed with the Council in order to facilitate distribution of information, etc.