Anti-Racism Resources for the Biomedical Research Training Community

“Each person is shaped by their family, their community, and ultimately society. To understand each other and have the maximal impact on achieving equity and justice, we must understand our society.”

— Dr. Keith Norris, M.D., Ph.D.
     Principal Investigator of the CEC, Executive Vice Chair of the UCLA Department of Medicine for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The Diversity Program Consortium is a trans-NIH program that aims to engage a more diverse field of individuals in biomedical research careers. The impetus for this initiative traces back to a 2011 NIH-commissioned study that identified gaps in NIH funding success rates for Black researchers specifically.1 The study found that Black Ph.D. scientists’ chance of being awarded NIH funding was 10 percentage points lower than of White scientists—even after accounting for the applicant’s educational background, country of origin, training, previous research awards, publication record, and employer characteristics. Another study followed in 2019 finding topic choice—a previously unstudied aspect of the review process—as a key contributor for this funding disparity.2 Black scientists tended to propose research at the community and population level, exploring topics such as health disparities. These topic areas received poorer scores from application reviewers, whereas more fundamental and mechanistic investigations received higher award rates. After controlling for the applicant's prior achievements and multiple other variables, the study found that topic choice alone accounts for over 20 percent of the gap in award funding.

As we continue our work to support diversity in biomedical research, it is important to remember that the 2011 study uncovered a significant disparity in funding for Black and African American scientists. The biomedical research community has an opportunity to center Black scientists, researchers, and students, so that efforts for diversity are equitable. By elevating Black students, faculty, and institutions, we elevate all students, faculty, and institutions. As officials from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences stated in a recent NIGMS Feedback Loop blog post:3

“Our commitment to a diverse workforce can’t be realized until our Black students, postdocs, and colleagues have the same opportunities to enter and advance within the biomedical research community as anyone else.”

Efforts to increase equity and diversity in biomedical science must be informed by anti-racism. Anti-racism recognizes that racism is systemic/institutional, interpersonal and internalized,4 and that combatting racism involves functions such as reducing the incidence of racist practices, fostering a non-racist culture, supporting the victims of racism, empowering racialized subjects, and transforming racist relations into better relations.

The following are anti-racist resources compiled for the DPC community and others who work towards inclusive excellence in the biomedical sciences. This page will be maintained and updated by the Coordination & Evaluation Center. Suggestions are welcome, please email


4 Berman, G., & Paradies, Y. (2010). Racism, disadvantage and multiculturalism: Towards effective anti-racist praxis. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 33(2), 214-232. doi:10.1080/01419870802302272
Hage, G. (2016). Recalling anti-racism. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 39(1), 123-133. doi:10.1080/01419870.2016.1096412

Academic Literature and Scholarship regarding Racism and Anti-Racism in the Biomedical Sciences

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The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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