Ongoing underrepresentation of some groups in the sciences limits the effectiveness of our nation’s biomedical research workforce and constrains innovation and productivity in the scientific workforce.
To overcome these limitations, the mission of SF BUILD is to enhance diversity of the biomedical research workforce by transforming the teaching and research environments at SF State. We create engaging and supportive spaces where students and faculty can safely represent different backgrounds and perspectives. Additionally, in partnership with UC San Francisco (UCSF), students and faculty receive training and mentoring to make significant contributions to biomedical research by asking innovative questions that are relevant to local communities.
SF BUILD is a project funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Enhancing the Diversity of the NIH Funded Workforce. SF BUILD is led by SF State and is a partnership with UCSF (UC San Francisco).
SF BUILD activities are grounded in the Signaling Affirmation for Equity (SAFE) Model that was developed for the successful NIH grant application.Through its implementation we focus on students, faculty, and institutional practices to create change that will transform teaching and research environments, and thereby enhance diversity of the biomedical research workforce.
Why is SF BUILD important?
- Limited diversity within the biomedical research workforce contributes to health disparities. We believe that enhancing diversity of the biomedical research workforce holds promise for both advancing science and improving the health of the entire nation.
- SF BUILD realizes that Stereotype Threat (ST) is one reason that some students end up exiting the sciences. ST occurs when individuals experience worry about the possibility of confirming a negative stereotype about their gender and/or ethnicity. These concerns have been documented to lead to underperformance in science and math classes and even to early exit from the biomedical research field. To reduce ST and support students, the SF BUILD approach is to Signal Safety and use Communal Goal Affirmation to engage, sustain, and enable students at SF State to be successful in their path to an NIH-funded career.
(Dr. Claude Steele speaking about Stereotype Threat)
How does SF BUILD meet its goals?
SF BUILD enables students from underrepresented groups in science to draw from their unique personal experiences to successfully pursue a career in biomedical research. This includes:
- Investigating biomedical research questions relevant to local communities while engaging in “giving back” research.
- Engaging with successful role models and their contributions to local communities to help increase motivation for a career in biomedical research.
- By gaining skills and effective mentorship, students will become meaningful contributors to the biomedical research workforce.
SF BUILD creates affirming and productive teaching and research environments at SF State and UCSF.
- By changing dialogue in classrooms and research sites to address stereotype threat we create intellectually safe and supportive spaces where students and faculty thrive.
Students and faculty investigate biomedical research questions relevant to local communities. Activities include:
- Research rotations and one-on-one mentored research experiences to help students discover their research interests that affirm personal goals.
- Faculty collaboration on grant proposals and projects to increase capacity for innovative research that addresses complex health issues.
Faculty at SF State and UCSF collaborate on projects for student training and development in biomedical research that is relevant to local communities. Through collaboration faculty will:
- Contribute to transforming the teaching and research environments at the partner institutions into affirming, productive, and safe spaces for all science students.
- Increase capacity for innovative research that addresses complex health issues.
- Faculty at SF State and UCSF collaborate on projects for student training and development in biomedical research that is relevant to local communities. Read more
Through these components, SF BUILD will build capacity for improved science education, and research training that is sustainable. SF BUILD will evaluate the program to establish a national model for enhancing diversity in the biomedical research workforce.