Dr. Robert C. Walker, Jr. is the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) for NIAMS. Dr. Walker provides expert leadership and direction for NIAMS in the areas of scientific diversity, health equity, and disparities research. As CDO, he leads the development and implementation of research, research capacity building, training, and career development programs to support the scientific mission of NIAMS and enhance scientific diversity. He provides recommendations on scientific diversity goals and objectives to ensure diversity is considered in the development, funding, and administration of grant awards, cooperative agreements, and contracts. In addition, Dr. Walker serves as the NIAMS liaison with the scientific community and partners with the NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and Chief Diversity Officers from other NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICOs).
Dr. Walker previously served as the Director of the Office for Scientific Operations (OSO) within the NIAMS Intramural Research Program. There, his responsibilities included leading career/professional development for the Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) trainee community, technology transfer, innovation development, scientific communication, policy, diversity and inclusion, and logistics. Before joining NIAMS in 2013, Dr. Walker completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), studying the pathogenesis of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-1), and subsequently completed a second fellowship in the NIAID Office of Technology Transfer.
Dr. Walker received his B.S. in Biology from Rust College and earned his Ph.D. at Meharry Medical College. He has also held adjunct professor and guest lecturer positions at the University of Maryland, Howard University, Tennessee State University, Meharry Medical College, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.