1.    Diversity in STEM Fields

Focus on the persistent under-representation of African Americans, Latin Americans, and Native Americans in the scientific, technical, and medical workforce in the United States, Latin America and Africa. At this moment when technological innovation is a leading driver of the global economy, the lack of diversity in STEM fields not only undermines our country’s economic dynamism. But also denies individuals from these groups the opportunities to be full participants in the societies in which they live. This initiative will focus specifically (but not exclusively) on work that supports the advancement of women of color in these fields in undergraduate education through the professoriate.

 2.    “Race,” Genetics/Genomics and Society

Currently, genetics/genomics offer great promise for solving some of the most intractable problems associated with diseases that differentially affect human populations. Yet, academic, expert and lay understandings of the significance of this information has been hampered by the problematic use of concepts of race to characterize human populations.  This initiative will promote dialogues between and among social scientists, scientists, and the lay and scientific press on this issue. We will develop public education projects, curricula to generate awareness of the complex role race plays in biomedical research. A key aspect of this work will engage scholars outside of the United States – in Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America where the historical construction of racial categories is both similar and different from what occurred in the United States.

3.    The African and African American Genetics Study (in collaboration with Howard University).

This project will take an interdisciplinary approach to analyze DNA data from the largest database of DNA from people of African descent currently available.  The goal would be to fill gaps in the knowledge of genetic variation among and between heterogeneous populations of African descent.