We're All In: 2023-24 GSBS gRBI Projects + Activities Guide

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GSBS 2023-2024 Projects

Ways to Get Involved

Becoming a Guiding Coalition Member

The Guiding Coalition of the Racism and Bias Initiative at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (gRBI) is a group of enthusiastic change leaders that is working with the Center for Anti-racism in Practice (CAP) to dismantle racism and bias within the research and learning environment. The new Center for Anti-racism in Practice (CAP) guides GSBS anti-racism strategy using a multi-phased change management approach that was rolled out in the medical school (also known as the Racism and Bias Initiative) and is now being introduced at 11 medical schools across the country.

Contribute to the GSBS Change Targets

WHO CAN SIGN UP: Staff, Faculty, Students, Post-Docs

DURATION: September 2023 – December 2023


POINT PERSON: Jay Johnson and Leona Hess

WORK WITH: Guiding Coalition members and GSBS Stakeholders

Brief description:

With the work of leadership, The Center for Anti-racism in Practice (CAP), and the Guiding Coalition of the Racism and Bias Initiative at the Graduate School (gRBI), we are prepared to take the next steps in the anti-racist transformational change strategy: Creating Change Targets. The Change Targets is an incremental desired outcome or end result of the Guiding Coalition’s actions that strategically leads the school towards the Racism and Bias Initiative’s goal of promoting equity in the research and learning environment.


Attend meetings and contribute to strategic Change Target planning following the Data Walk with student fellows and members of the Guiding Coalition.

Contribute to communications plan to share Change Targets with the GSBS community

Attend the Data Walk

WHO CAN ATTEND: Staff, Faculty, Students, Post-Docs

DURATION: September 14, from 3-6 pm

Join at any time and stay as long as you’d like.

In partnership with GSBS leadership, we’re prepared to take the next steps in the anti-racist transformational change strategy: Creating Change Targets. The Change Targets, or strategic incremental goals, will inform what needs to change, and will require the investment and understanding of each and every member of GSBS of our shared why.

To start this conversation, the gRBI Guiding Coalition invites members of the Graduate School community to attend an interactive data walk that will reveal the GSBS project community map, demonstrating anti-racist projects underway and identify needs across the school. Participants will have an opportunity to reflect and identify what the change should be. We invite all members of the GSBS communityfaculty, staff, students, and post-docs to attend at any time and stay as long as you like.

Sign up for updates.
Scan QR code to sign up. Scan QR code to sign up.

Fellowship Projects gRBI x CAP Fellowship

Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences

2023-2024 Fellowship Projects:

GSBS Strategic Anti-racist Change Target Development

The Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences is committed to implementing strategic anti-racist transformational change through the formation of the Graduate School Racism and Bias Initiative (gRBI) Guiding Coalition and partnership with the Center for Anti-racism in Practice (CAP). During the 2022-2023 Fellowship, Student Fellows created a community map of anti-racist projects, barriers, and needs across all the programs that will be shared with the GSBS during the next data walk on September 14, 2023. This data walk will inform the formation of gRBI’s first Change Targets, or incremental strategic goals for change for the next academic year. Fellows participating in the 2023-223 year will build on the work by leveraging data collected from the Data Walk to work with the gRBI to finalize change targets, implement a plan using results-based accountability, and track the change over time.

Propose Your Own Project

This year we are offering an opportunity for a fellow to propose and execute an innovative project of their own. In the application you will have the opportunity to submit a potential project name, supervisors, description, outcomes/deliverables, and responsibilities. We are looking for a project that is:

• Aligned with our mission to nurture a visionary community of students, staff, faculty and leaders who are committed to advancing exceptional clinical care and science that is free of racism and oppression in all its forms;

• Designed to address a gap or concern related to our learning environment;

• Achievable in 8 months; and

• Innovative and doesn’t duplicate or complete with existing antiracism projects at the Graduate School.

Apply to be a 2023-2024 gRBI x CAP Fellow.
The mission of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) x Center for Anti-Racism in Practice (CAP) Fellows is to support and advance the lifelong pursuit of anti-racism, equity, and racial justice as the organizing principles of science and research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS).
GSBS x CAP Fellows will work closely with ISMMS leaders across all functional areas of the school of medicine and report directly to the co-Directors of the Center for Anti-Racism in Practice (CAP). Fellows will serve as an invaluable capacity-building resource for school and institution-wide anti-racism initiatives.
2023 – 2024 GSBS

Myths and Facts about Racism and Bias in STEMM


“STEMM shouldn’t be about social or political issues.”


Scientists are people, which means that their opinions, biases, and beliefs will be present in STEMM workspaces—this makes science inherently political. Scientists are people, which means that their opinions, biases, and beliefs will be present in STEMM workspaces— this makes science inherently political. Studies show that BIPOC in STEMM are experiencing racial discrimination in hiring, recruitment, promotion and obtaining NIH funding, and feel they have work harder than their colleagues to be perceived as a legitimate scholar. Scientists are responsible for generating data and interpreting results that direct the course of many aspects of society. We have a responsibility to confront both our own biases and those present in the scientific literature in order to ensure that the data and guidance we produce are not perpetuating or enabling inequality.


“Educational spaces are the “Great Equalizer” where everyone is treated the same, but there are also less BIPOC interested in STEMM.”


This phrase suggests that access to education is sufficient to remove the effects of inequities between groups of people, such as barriers due to race or socioeconomic status. In other words, oppressed groups need only prioritize their education in order to pull themselves onto equal footing with more privileged demographics. Research shows that access to STEMM education is not equal across racial lines, and very few BIPOC believe that a lack of interest, versus a lack of educational access, equitable promotions, support, and hiring systems, and encouragement for BIPOC to pursue STEMM, contributes to lack of BIPOC representation.


“Improving diversity and inclusion does not benefit STEMM as a whole.”


Beyond being a moral obligation, promoting diversity and inclusion directly benefits all of STEMM. Diversity fosters novel ideas, effective problem-solving, and creative solutions. Given a set of problems to solve, groups that are diverse in their demographic characteristics, ethnicities, and cultural identities outperform groups that are demographically homogeneous. A diversity of voices can help scientists to foster effective communication, design unbiased solutions, put forth just policy recommendations, and effectively recruit and engage public audiences.


“I only hire, or award based on merit - race doesn’t need to be a factor.”


This argument relies on the assumption that academia is a meritocracy, wherein factors such as grades, awards, and publications depend solely on talent and effort, and therefore, we can use these metrics to objectively select the best candidate. More broadly, the criteria that defines “merit” also possess inherent bias. Race-conscious decisionmaking does not compromise our ability to select the best candidate for a position—in fact, it is quite the opposite. If our goal is to select the most talented and hard-working candidate, then we must account for the external factors that could impair an individual’s efforts from translating into standardized measures of success. Individuals who claim they are “color-blind” or “don’t see race” for the sake of upholding a nonexistent meritocracy are perpetuating the discriminatory status quo by failing to acknowledge the systemic inequities facing BIPOC.


“We’re already focusing on diversity in STEMM, we don’t need to do more.”


Representation is only one part of addressing the issue of racism, bias, and inequity in STEMM. If BIPOC researchers, students, staff, etc. are not in an environment where they feel a sense of safety and belonging, racial harm and retention will continue to be an issue in STEMM.

When BIPOC folks in STEMM at GSBS and beyond were asked about their experiences, they shared the below: My colleague told me that “Blacks have lower IQs than whites.” My colleagues often mistake me for one of the other Black persons in our department. We are of different heights, hues, and builds. My colleague and fellow faculty member of over 5 years asked me to register a patient. I explained that I was not the receptionist. My colleague insisted, seeming to think that I was a receptionist from another unit.

Throughout all of my education, it was not until graduate school that I had an underrepresented minority (URM) teacher/ professor, and even here there were only two faculty of colour. I sometimes wonder how the absence of URM faculty impacts my colleagues’ abilities to see minorities as experts. My colleague said to me, out of the blue, “We used to sell your people.”

My colleague, in the presence of our shared mentor, told me I didn’t belong in our lab, implying that I was hired only due to the lack of diversity in our department. My mentor did not challenge this narrative.

As the only Black faculty member in my medicine department, I was always ‘voluntold’ to intermediate with minority trainees; the assumption being that one minority’s experience mirrors that of all others despite regional, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.

Numerous white colleagues have asked why I didn’t apply for the “minority money” since in their view this is easier to get than grants from the general NIH K01 funding pool. They assume that African American scientists are less qualified and thus can only compete for funding designated for underrepresented populations.

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is committed to transformational anti-racist change to promote equity in the research and learning environment, where the evidence of racism and bias cannot be ignored.
Let’s debunk some of the myths surrounding this evidence.
Scan the QR code to grab your copy of facts.
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