Although explicit prejudice has been declining steadily over the past 50 years, a large body of theoretically grounded experimentally confirmed research demonstrates that the mere existence of cultural stereotypes about racial and ethnic groups can invisibly and inadvertently impede opportunities for underrepresented minority students through ?unconscious? or ?implicit? bias. Recently, a cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted and showed that approaching implicit bias as a remedial habit can reduce gender biased behaviors among faculty. Further, engaging in an activity in which one takes the perspective of someone different from him or herself is an effective way to introduce the sensitive topic of implicit race bias. This proposal?s goal is to improve the culture of academic science and to make it more welcoming to diverse students by targeting the unconscious attitudes and behaviors of their research mentors directly. The education plan?s overarching objective is to train the mentors of students about the concepts of implicit or unconscious bias, the effects of these biases on underrepresented minority students in training, and the strategies to mitigate race-based bias within labs, departments, and institutions.
Specific aims are to: 1) Develop and Implement Training for Research Mentors, Faculty, and Future Faculty about Implicit Bias; 2) Implement ?Train the Trainer? Workshops for Previous Participants; and 3) Disseminate Breaking the Cycle of Bias Curriculum and Training Materials. Outcomes from this project include: 1) a fully developed and evaluated Breaking the Bias Cycle workshop, and a complementary ?train the trainer? version conducted with approximately 450 research mentors who will gain knowledge and skills to address bias in themselves and at their institutions, 2) an Implicit Association Test (IAT) for race/science bias, and 3) publicly accessible training materials for further outreach and dissemination. This project is innovative because it capitalizes on existing expertise in reducing stereotype-based bias, simulations for perspective taking, mentor training, and program implementation/dissemination at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. By building on previously funded NIH research, this project enhances NIH?s return on investment. It is significant because it helps to achieve the goal of NIGMS to fully capitalize on the rich diversity of our Nation?s population by directly targeting the research faculty who have the influence to create change within their mentoring relationships with student mentees, and at their institutions.

Public Health Relevance

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) is committed to building and developing a diverse workforce to meet the nation's biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs. As such, the NIGMS has invested funds and other resources to support various programs and initiatives to accomplish this. We are extending the work of three such initiatives and moving them to the next level of implementation. Our overarching objective-to train the mentors of students about the concepts of implicit or unconscious bias, the effects of these biases on underrepresented minority students in training, and the strategies and means to mitigate bias within labs, departments, and institutions-is aligned with NIGMS goals and provides an additional return on their original investment.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1)
Program Officer
Falcon-Morales, Edgardo
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Wisconsin Madison
Schools of Education
United States
Zip Code