On Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Genetics

As our nation struggles to find our way out of darkness and towards a more just society, we scientists, clinicians, and educators seek ways to turn anguish into action. We must unite to condemn racism, but that response alone is inadequate. We must also empower our community to acknowledge privilege for those who benefit from it and to help disseminate tools to dismantle structural racism. Some of that will come in the form of the educational communities to which we contribute. Geneticists are in the unique position of being able to underscore our common humanity with evidence from our collective genomic history. It is up to us to create inclusive training environments where these topics are explored and used to shine a light on systems of care in our country.

Towards that end, we highlight below some BU community events and resources for further exploration.

Understanding Race: a module that introduces the genetic foundations that underscore our shared humanity.

https://www.understandingrace.org

 

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs

https://bookshop.org/books/the-short-and-tragic-life-of-robert-peace-a-brilliant-young-man-who-left-newark-for-the-ivy-league/9781476731919

Although it may seem like the title gives away the story of Rob Peace, this important book still has you hoping, right up until the end, that you were wrong, that things will turn out differently for Mr. Peace. The fact that Rob Peace, Yale alum and mentor to inner city youth, is the same person as Shawn Peace, brother to all, son of a convicted felon, and small time drug dealer, is the basis of this gripping narrative. The backdrop of this narrative is two entirely separate settings, the inner city and the world of the privileged few, with an intersection of one, Robert DeShaun Peace. And you just keep turning pages, waiting for the other shoe to drop, hoping against hope that you’re wrong.

 

Superior by Angela Saini

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/may/27/superior-the-return-of-race-science-by-angela-saini-book-review

https://bookshop.org/books/superior-the-return-of-race-science/9780807076910

“[This] is a case of science being retrofitted to accommodate race. The data, the theories, the facts themselves, are rotated and warped until they fit into a racial framework we can relate to. This is the power of race. It is the power to twist science to its own ends.” This powerful book chronicles the holes in the “biological science” of race and details how these pseudoscientific ideas have come to prominence once again. It’s an important read for the times, to help us understand how science can be viewed and manipulated outside of the ivory towers.

Dr. Dasgupta hosted an online Q&A with Ms. Saini in partnership with NIH. Check it out here: https://livestream.com/genometv/events/9214527

 

BUSM’s Anti-Racism Task Force

Check out this 10-minute interview with our very own, Taylor Matte, as he talks about his work with Boston University’s School of Medicine’s Anti-Racism Task Force. Taylor represents all of the PhD students on the panel. Taylor talks about a major project that the task force is working on, in which he is spearheading,  instructing the upcoming BUSM-MedSci Program (MSP) – a program that intends to give underrepresented high school students an opportunity to be exposed to various clinical and basic science topics.  This is also closely associated with the work Taylor did with the Boston Area Health Education Center (BAHEC), whose goal is similar. Taylor also gives some great advice to other genetics professionals (or anyone really!) about some steps to take to be anti-racist in your everyday work. Here is the most recent update from the task force as well.