The ongoing underrepresentation of minorities in the sciences limits the effectiveness of our nation's biomedical research enterprise and constrains innovation and productivity in the scientific workforce. To overcome these limitations, the overall goal of our proposed BUILD project is to transform teaching, training, and research at the partnering institutions by creating an intellectually safe and affirming environment in which minority students can thrive and become scientists. Our approach is grounded in the robust psychosocial literature on stereotype threat that explains why underrepresented students underperform in and exit science, and the emerging literature on the use of affirmations to mitigate it. Consequently, we propose a comprehensive approach to sustainable reform of science teaching and research training that addresses institutional deficits that trigger stereotype threat, and affirms the value of underrepresented investigators in the biomedical research workforce. In this effort we capitalize on the institutional history, strategic goals, and inherent diversity of SF State, a predominantly undergraduate institution that has. attained national prominence for scientific teaching, research training, and preparation of underrepresented students for biomedically-related careers. Our research partner, the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), will contribute to this effort by providing BUILD scholars with unique educational experiences, and collaborating on the development of training modules to support underrepresented students and faculty in the biomedical sciences. Additionally, UCSF will provide SF State minority faculty with research training and professional development opportunities. Thus completion of activities described in the Research Enrichment Core (REC) will enable young investigators (i.e., the BUILD scholars) and minority faculty at SF State to fully integrate into the biomedical research workforce and improve its practice for all members of our society.
The benefits of increasing the diversity of biomedical researchers include greater scientific innovation and a more skilled workforce focused on the research questions of crucial significance for underserved communities. SF BUILD will increase the diversity of biomedical researchers through improved education, training, and mentoring practices via research opportunities focused on health disparities.