The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Inclusive language helps AMIA serve a diverse biomedical informatics community. By creating the Inclusive Language and Context Style Guidelines (ILCSG), AMIA intends to:
- respect the autonomy, dignity, and experiences of marginalized and historically excluded communities,
- incorporate just, and equitable scientific practices and precisely describe scientific knowledge, and
- enable researchers to contribute valuable insights new to AMIA’s scientific understanding. The guidelines serve as an educational resource for creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive AMIA.
Using language that affirms and accurately describes the diversity of lived experiences is important to advancing AMIA’s DEI commitment and scientific knowledge. It is one of many cultural and behavioral steps toward a more welcoming and inclusive AMIA.
These guidelines are a living document intended for authors, reviewers, and AMIA members as an educational resource for AMIA submissions. The guidelines were conceived and developed by the researchers from the AMIA community and refined by the AMIA DEI Communications Subcommittee. They will be updated and expanded to include other forms of communication with participation from the broader AMIA audience, including policy response letters, press releases from AMIA, leadership communications, and working group products.
The ILCSG contains two main components for researchers to consider in their work: (1) guiding principles with examples; and (2) ample resources for further reading. The guidelines are structured around four principles, plurality, precision, transparency, and destigmatization. The provided resources help build on expertise from various fields and empower AMIA members to learn the context behind the language they use.
We encourage the AMIA community to not simply “find and replace” words in scientific communications but to think critically about how to apply the relevant principles throughout the process of study planning, data collection, writing, reviewing, and communicating.
These guidelines are an educational resource to consider during the AMIA submission process. We encourage authors and reviewers to consider these guidelines while writing and providing feedback on submissions. Reviewers should include context and examples from the Inclusive Language Guidelines as a form of constructive feedback when appropriate.
If authors receive inclusive language feedback from reviewers, authors should incorporate revisions into their submission or discuss alternatives to the suggested revisions before submitting their final document. Language is nuanced and contextual, and conversations between reviewers, authors, and the creators of the ILCSG are encouraged.