The year 2023 in big white text against a blue background. The 0 in 2023 is the RDEISE logo, a circle of hands of different skin tones all holding each other by the wrist.

RDEISE: 2023 Year in Review

As we complete another rotation around the sun and prepare for the exciting developments that 2024 has in store, join us for a look back at the highlights of the Racial Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Science Education (RDEISE) project in 2023.

This was a big year for RDEISE, as we went live in September with the rollout of our first learning cluster “Racism as a Public Health Crisis.” Meanwhile on the blog, we gave you a peek behind the scenes of the process, shared tips for educators in our Inclusive Classroom series, and interviewed several top experts in the field. Let’s do a quick rewind.

Against a computer rendered image of a Golgi apparatus, text reads: “RDEISE Highlight: Honoring the Legacy of LabXchange Founder Doctor Robert Lue.” The image has a red filter, and the RDEISE logo is in the center of the image.

In January, we kicked off the year with an addition to our Accessibility at LabXchange series, in which our writing team talked about the importance of alt text. Alt text, a text description of an image that is read out loud by screen readers used by blind and other disabled persons, is an essential part of our commitment to making our content accessible and inclusive. The writing team also put together a short guide on how to add alt text to your personal or business social media posts.

For Black History Month in February, we celebrated historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Talyia Griffin, a graduate of Albany State University, told us about her experience studying at an HBCU and shared some advice for young people of color aspiring to do the same. 

In April, we honored the legacy of the father of LabXchange and original principal investigator of the RDEISE project, Dr. Robert Lue, who would have turned 59 in May. Dr Lue’s passion for inclusive education and his belief that an interdisciplinary understanding of art and science can enrich teaching informed his work and the overall content of Labxchange and the RDEISE project.

We were thrilled to drop the first exclusive preview of RDEISE content in May. “What is an Inclusive Classroom,” an animation from our second learning cluster “Advancing Equity in STEM Through Inclusive Teaching,” outlines five essential characteristics of an inclusive learning environment as identified by experts in the field, and introduces concrete examples of active learning methods that educators can employ to foster inclusivity within the classroom.

Against a photo of 2 students of color looking through microscopes in a school lab, text reads: “RDEISE Highlight: Releasing the first exclusive preview of RDEISE with the animation ‘What Is an Inclusive Classroom.’” The image has a blue filter, and the RDEISE logo is in the center of the image.

We followed this up with the first installment in our new Inclusive Classrooms series. We discussed the types of diverse circumstances that may affect learning, what makes a classroom inclusive, and why it matters.

We spotlighted one of our content collaborators, medical design company Body Scientific, in June. “Promoting racial equity is not only a responsibility but also an opportunity to drive positive change within the medical field,” said co-founder Marcelo Oliver, who shared Body Scientific’s vision of providing students, patients, and healthcare professionals with exceptional medical education resources that prioritize diverse representation and scientific accuracy.

In July, the RDEISE learning designers shared more about what goes into designing learning content for RDEISE. “One of the main aims of the RDEISE project is for all learners—especially those from racially marginalized backgrounds—to recognize themselves as scientists and to be intrigued by science as a discipline,” said lead learning designer Megan Tennant. “Our team aims to keep this front of mind when developing the content.” 

We returned to our Inclusive Classrooms series in August. We shared some specific strategies and ideas that educators can implement to create an inclusive learning environment for all students, such as encouraging curiosity over perfection, ensuring that the physical classroom and learning materials are accessible, and calling out bigotry. 

Against various illustrations related to racial equity in health care, such as a hospital and some health-care workers of color, text reads: “RDEISE Highlight: RDEISE launches in September 2023 with the first 2 pathways live in the LabXchange library.” The image has an orange filter, and the RDEISE logo is in the center of the image.

September saw the much-anticipated launch of the first two pathways in our “Racism as a Public Health Crisis'' cluster, “How Can We Begin to Understand Race?” and “What are Health Disparities and What Causes Them?” We celebrated by talking to RDEISE faculty steering committee member Dr. Jamiella Brooks about inclusive pedagogy and the challenges faced by students. Dr Brooks reminded us that we must “prioritize equity by focusing on anti-racist and anti-colonial teaching practices,” and shared some resources and strategies for educators.  

We honored the life and incredible legacy of Henrietta Lacks, the Black woman whose cells became the first immortal human cell line, in October. Lacks’ cell line, called HeLa, was the catalyst for significant advances, breakthroughs, and research in science, medicine, and genetics, including the polio vaccine and cancer research methods.

Finally, in November, we wrapped up the year by talking to RDEISE research and content development consultant Udodiri Okwandu, who shared that she loves “translating academic research—which can often feel jargony and inaccessible—to make it more accessible for public audiences.” We also learned more about Udodiri’s research, her role in RDEISE, and how contemporary racial health disparities are direct relics of the historical development of American medicine.

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with the RDEISE project in 2024 as we release new pathways.

Written by
LabXchange RDEISE team

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