LabXchange to Develop New Online Resources that Examine Racism as a Public Health Crisis and Racism in Science and Education
LabXchange at Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences is facilitating a collaborative effort to advance racial diversity, equity, and inclusion in science education.
Leading scholars of antiracism in education, science, and public health are joining forces with LabXchange to develop new digital learning content that aims to empower science learners and educators to recognize and rectify the structures that sustain racial inequity in healthcare, education, and STEM fields in the United States. This interdisciplinary project will lead to the development of two new learning clusters: Racism as a Public Health Crisis, and Inclusive and Antiracist Teaching Strategies.
Since launching in January 2020, LabXchange, an initiative of Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences supported by the Amgen Foundation, has worked to create equitable opportunities for success in science on a global scale, reaching over 13 million learners to date. Through an additional $1,200,000 grant from the Amgen Foundation, LabXchange will augment its virtual content library with new resources that examine racism as a public health crisis and racism in science and education. These high-quality materials will equip high school and college educators to address these topics as part of a standard science curriculum, and challenge the perception that science is independent of social issues.
Under the guidance of an expert faculty steering committee, graduate student fellows from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Harvard University, and other institutions will author these new resources, which will be made freely available and translated into Spanish. The first learning cluster, Racism as a Public Health Crisis, will increase public awareness of racial health disparities, and teach the critical thinking skills needed to dismantle the structures that perpetuate these inequities. It will explore the historical formation of the concept of race, and the role of science, medicine, and health in its formation.
The second cluster, Inclusive and Antiracist Teaching Strategies, will empower educators with the skills, knowledge, and tools to close opportunity and retention gaps in science education. It will include evidence-based ways to support Black students’ sense of belonging, identity, and success in science, evidence-based practices for culturally responsive teaching, and strategies to increase participation and leadership in science from historically underrepresented and underserved groups.
“LabXchange allows for countless collaborative possibilities, including convening leading scholars and experts who share our aspiration to create more equitable opportunities for success for everyone across a wide variety of scientific endeavors,” said Judy Brown, Chairman of the Board of the Amgen Foundation.
“LabXchange has envisioned well-conceived and extensive curricular materials that will allow students to explore the nature of human biological diversity and its relationship to socially defined race concepts in great depth,” remarked faculty steering committee member Joseph L. Graves Jr. “Almost twenty years ago in my essay ‘Why We Should Teach Our Students About Race,’ I opined about the completely ineffective K-12 approach concerning human biological diversity. We now have a plan to rectify this.”
The project’s faculty steering committee brings together top experts from the fields of education, health, and science: Dr. Jamiella Brooks of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Robert T. Palmer of Howard University, Dr. Ivory A. Toldson of Howard University, Dr. Bita Amani of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Dr. Joseph L. Graves, Jr. of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Dr. Julia F. Hastings of University at Albany, SUNY, and Dr. Frinny Polanco Walters, of Harvard Medical School. LabXchange is led by co-principal investigators Dr. Alain Viel of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, and Dr. Xiao-Li Meng of the Department of Statistics, Harvard University.
LabXchange is a free online science education platform that provides users with access to personalized instruction, virtual lab experiences, and networking opportunities across the global scientific community. The platform is purpose-built to drive more inclusion in the scientific process, empower students to pursue careers in science, and spark collaboration to build creative, team-based approaches to real-world problems. To learn more about this initiative, visit equity.labxchange.org.
About the Amgen Foundation
The Amgen Foundation seeks to advance excellence in science education to inspire the next generation of innovators, and invest in strengthening communities where Amgen staff members live and work. To date, the Foundation has donated over $350 million to local, regional, and international non-profit organizations that impact society in inspiring and innovative ways. The Amgen Foundation brings the excitement of discovery to the scientists of tomorrow through several signature programs, including Amgen Scholars and the Amgen Biotech Experience. For more information, visit AmgenInspires.com and follow on Twitter @AmgenFoundation.