UCSF, SF State Awarded $17M Grant to Increase Diversity in Biomedical Workforce

By Purba Chatterjee

The National Institutes of Health have awarded $17 million to establish the SF BUILD program at San Francisco State University (SFSU), with UC San Francisco as their research partner, to promote training opportunities and career development for minority students and faculty in the biomedical sciences.

The five-year program is funded by the NIH’s Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) initiative, which aims to increase diversity within the biomedical research workforce. UCSF has been awarded more than $5 million for this initiative. This is part of a larger nation-wide strategy and includes a National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) and a Coordination and Evaluation Center (CEC).

Kisten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD

At UCSF, SF BUILD will be led by Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD, professor in the Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and director of the Center for Vulnerable Populations and Clinical and Translational Sciences Training. Leticia Márquez-Magaña, professor of biology at SFSU, will lead SF BUILD efforts at SFSU. Peter Chin-Hong, Alicia Fernandez, and Robert Hiatt will lead the Student Training, Research Enrichment, and Institutional Development efforts at UCSF, respectively.

“We are excited to work with SFSU on BUILD, a unique partnership that leverages both the affinities and strengths of our two institutions,” Bibbins-Domingo said.

To foster professional development and persistence in the biomedical sciences, 50 undergraduate students from underrepresented and minority backgrounds will participate in an intensive research training program. Students selected for the program from SF State will participate in a summer research rotation focusing on interdisciplinary approaches to the study of health disparities to prepare them for participation in 2-year research projects under the mentorship of faculty at SF State and UCSF.

“BUILD has twin goals of increasing the diversity of the biomedical workforce and increasing capacity for innovative new research,” Bibbins-Domingo said. “In pursuing these two goals, BUILD has the potential to transform both of our institutions and more importantly to enhance our ability to improve the health of all communities in San Francisco.”

SF BUILD will also provide training for faculty on how to promote intellectually supportive environments for underrepresented students and encourage the development of new curricula with a focus on social justice and health equity. In addition, the program will promote professional development opportunities for minority faculty by fostering interdisciplinary collaborations between researchers at SF State and UCSF thereby transforming both institutions.

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