Championing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility at the National Institutes of Health

Championing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility at the National Institutes of Health
Jun 1, 2023
Participatory-based DEIA communications expert Brian Cockman brings his unique perspective and the mantra that “great minds think differently” to his work

With equity expertise backed by industry and technology experience, we support federal agencies along their diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) journeys. Like many of our clients, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) views this as mission-driven work. As NIH works to turn discovery into health, the agency recognizes that the principles of DEIA are intrinsic to the achievement of better health for all.

Brian Cockman, director of health communications at ICF, chats with John Auerbach, public health expert and ICF thought leader, about how his personal commitment to DEIA—shaped by his lived and learned experiences—is driving his team’s work at NIH. Watch clips from their conversation and find out why Brian is inspired by his current client partner who champions the concept that “great minds think differently” over “great minds think alike.”


Brian is part of our social marketing team within our digital modernization and experience business. Several defining moments in his life—including coming out as gay and volunteering in Africa—shape how he communicates professionally and the empathy and understanding he brings to his work. Learn more about Brian’s experiences.


Brian’s team supports a growing portfolio of DEIA work at NIH, including the implementation and communications around their new institute-wide strategic plan for DEIA. His team is also helping NIH’s Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity Office communicate the institute’s talent lifecycle progress to ensure government transparency and more deeply diversify the national scientific workforce, as well as support NIH’s UNITE anti-racism initiative. Find out more about our history supporting DEIA at NIH.


Brian is inspired by many things in his daily work. His client’s actions to create inclusive environments. The impact on public health by NIH leaders. And a former boss who taught him to “figure it out and make it happen.” Hear more from Brian about his personal motivations—both inside ICF and at NIH.

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