MEDI Division Announcements

  • A Message to the MEDI Community

    Dear members of the ACS MEDI Division:

              The saying “May you live in interesting times” has taken on new meaning in recent months. Between an unprecedented global viral pandemic and civil unrest in the United States, life has changed for us all. It is particularly ironic that those of us who have devoted our careers to inventing and developing new medicines have been largely been prevented from doing so by the virus and associated shutdown. As a society, we have witnessed firsthand the injustices that can be perpetrated when ingrained bias is left unchecked.  With this as a backdrop, a recently published article in Angewandte Chemie aimed to discuss “Where now?” for organic chemistry, an area where medicinal chemists are largely trained, has generated indignation.  Sadly, the author espoused many views that are antithetical to those held by the vast majority of us in the field. The ensuing outrage resulted in the article being removed from the journal site and the resignation of the international advisory board. 

               Much has already been written about the negative implications of the article.  Many of us reacted in shock to statements such as “…focusing on ‘underrepresented minorities’… diminishes the contribution of men”, “…there must be ‘an unconditional submission of the apprentice to his/her master’”, and claims that diversity of workforce, research opinions, and new technology are negative influences in the field.  These unsubstantiated statements reflect an out of touch perspective that at best does nothing to advance the field, and at worst sets it back considerably.  This is not who we are, and it does not represent the people we know in medicinal chemistry. We can and need to do better.

                As part of an inherently interdisciplinary and collaborative field, medicinal chemists know that diverse teams are fundamental to the drug discovery process. New perspectives from people of diverse cultural and scientific backgrounds can provide unique ideas necessary to meet the daunting challenges of developing a drug. For these reasons, we must be committed to denouncing inequalities rooted in prejudices based on race, gender, or sexual orientation. The historic marginalization of both careers and scientific contributions of women, black people, and other underrepresented minorities can only be overcome by a conscious effort to (1) acknowledge that such biases existed (and still exist), and (2) actively empower these scientists. Indeed, a recent issue jointly published by the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters dedicated to “Women in Medicinal Chemistry” did just this, highlighting research from leaders in our field (https://pubs.acs.org/toc/jmcmar/63/5).  While decades ago it might have been difficult to imagine this type of publication, it is still not enough. We need to accelerate our efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, which are critical to ensure that people of all backgrounds can develop to their highest potential and pursue fulfilling careers in medicinal chemistry.  The MEDI Division has a history of supporting and promoting diversity in all aspects and we are proud to reaffirm our strong commitments to diversity and inclusion.

  • 37th National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium

    The Division of Medicinal Chemistry is organizing the 37th National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium in New York City.  DUE TO COVID-19, the dates have been chenged to June 27-30, 2021. This dynamic four day symposium will bring together medicinal chemists from across the country working in the pharmaceutical industry, academia, government and private research institutions. The 2020/2021 Edition is Co-Chaired by Amjad Ali, Merck & Co. Inc., and Robert DeVita, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai.

ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry

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