Biosciences Commitment to Justice and Action

We are outraged at the recent killings of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Riah Milton, Tony McDade, and innumerable others before them.  These events are a wrenching reminder of how much progress we need to make to become a just and equitable society.  We stand with our Black students, postdocs, staff, faculty, and community and resolve to do more to abolish racism. Black Lives Matter.

We hold justice, diversity, equity, inclusivity and belonging as part of our core abiding principles.  There is no place for discrimination, hatred, or bigotry in any shape or form in our community. We must treat our Black students, postdocs, staff, and faculty as well as all other members of our community with dignity and respect.

We pledge to listen, learn, change and act.  We read the 6/19/20 student letter to the President & Provost, and while it was not addressed to the Biosciences, we recognized that we have a responsibility to act locally on the areas over which we have authority and influence. And we are beginning to take action now.

We recognize that this is just the beginning and that there will be other avenues we need to explore to achieve our goals of justice, diversity, equity, inclusivity and belonging for everyone in our community.  We therefore welcome your feedback and suggestions and of course would also love to hear from you if you would like to participate in these or other initiatives.  Please submit your feedback here.


Stanford Biosciences Faculty Leaders

  • Dan Herschlag, Graduate Advisor, Biochemistry
  • Aaron F. Straight, Department Chair Biochemistry
  • Markus Covert, Director of Graduate Studies, Bioengineering
  • Martha Cyert, Incoming Department Chair, Biology
  • Sylvia Plevritis, Department Chair and Director of Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program, Biomedical Data Science
  • Kerwyn Casey Huang, Program Director, Biophysics
  • Julien Sage, Program Director, Cancer Biology
  • James K. Chen, Chair, Chemical and Systems Biology
  • Judith Prochaska, Faculty Director, Graduate Program in Community Health & Prevention Research
  • Sherril Green, Department Chair, Comparative Medicine/Masters of Laboratory Animal Science
  • Roel Nusse, Chair,  Development Biology
  • Will Talbot, Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs and Professor of Developmental Biology
  • Rita Popat, Chair, MS program in Epidemiology and Clinical Research
  • Melissa Bondy, Department Chair, Epidemiology and Population Health
  • Lesley Park, PHS Postdoctoral Fellowship Director, Epidemiology & Population Health
  • Lisa Goldman Rosas, Assistant Professor, Epidemiology and Population Health & Office of Community Health
  • MaryAnn Campion, Co-Director, Program in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling
  • Kelly Ormond, Co-Director, Program in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling
  • Gavin Sherlock, Associate Professor, Genetics
  • Michael Snyder, Chair/Director, Genetics / Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine
  • Sheri Krams, Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs and Professor of Immunology
  • Olivia Martinez, Director, Program in Immunology
  • David Schneider, Advising Dean for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs and Chair and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
  • Justin Sonnenburg, Director of Graduate Studies, Microbiology and Immunology
  • Miriam B. Goodman, Department Chair, Molecular and Cellular Physiology
  • Lucy O’Brien, Asst. Professor, Molecular & Cellular Physiology
  • Nirao Shah, Director, Program in Neurosciences
  • Katrin Chua, Director, MD-PhD Medical Scientist Training Program
  • Taia Wang, Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Marius Wernig, Co-Director, Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
  • Ted Jardetzky, Program Director, Graduate Program in Structural Biology

Biosciences Commitment to Action

Stanford Biosciences is committed to urgent and sustained action to pursue a just and equitable community. While these actions are centered on addressing historical injustices against the Black community, the reality is that addressing these injustices will have a direct and immediate impact on all members of our community, particularly those from marginalized communities within the Biosciences.

Senior Associate Dean Will Talbot convened a series of meetings of Biosciences senior faculty leaders, staff leaders and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) staff to review the list of recommendations from 6/19/20 letter to President & Provost and to identify actions that can be taken locally within the Biosciences to meet the spirit of the recommendations.

The actions listed here represent a commitment by the Biosciences faculty leadership and the offices which report to the Senior Associate Dean for Graduate & Postdoctoral Affairs – the Office of Graduate Education, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, BioSci Careers  and the Grant Writing Academy. The status of these commitments to action will be updated on a quarterly basis and additional commitments will be added as developed. This is just the beginning.

Submit your feedback here.

Currently Planned Actions

Filter by date:

  • Complete
  • Ongoing
  • Summer 2020
  • Fall 2020
  • 2020-2021
  • 2021-2022
  • Show All

Support an infrastructure for improved quality of life and well-being for the Black Student & Postdoc community in the Biosciences

  • Make resources available to our community through the Biosciences Centering Black Community Needs living document to educate on structures that enable or maintain racism and inequality, the profound emotional, economic, and personal toll of such structures on individual lives and entire groups of people, and ways in which we must act to undo such structures

  • Encourage small groups to form book/journal clubs within their local department/program communities

  • Support Biosciences student leaders as they develop action plans and resource documents

  • Moderate and/or participate as panelists in 10+ town halls and community conversations, including offering personal reflections based on lived experiences

  • Hosted a June 2020 Black Biosciences Community Gathering in collaboration with Black CAPS therapists and Biosciences staff to center Black Biosciences voices

  • Partner with departments and programs across the Biosciences, School of Medicine, and School of Engineering to engage in ongoing, collaborative efforts to challenge and dismantle systemic racism

  • Work with SOM Mental Health Team develop a plan to support the holistic needs of Black trainees and other marginalized groups

  • Provide curated lists of black-owned restaurants and other minority owned local businesses for individuals planning meetings and events across the Biosciences

Document the Biosciences commitment to justice, equity, diversity, inclusion & belonging and review on an annual basis

  • Develop a formal Biosciences strategic plan for diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and justice to support long-term culture shift across the biosciences; review on an annual basis

  • Host a town hall annually to update Biosciences community on progress towards the strategic plan

Make anti-racist training available for the Biosciences Community

  • Partner with the SOM Anti-Racism Coalition (ARC) to identify, evaluate, & develop anti-racist curriculum

  • Evaluate anti-racist training options that will be provided by Stanford University and supplement them with Biosciences focused materials

Solicit grievances and actionable items to address and eliminate racial inequity in the Biosciences

  • Collect anonymous student responses via Padlet to the prompt: What have your experiences of racism, prejudice, discrimination, and/or bias been like at Stanford? Compile and analyze results

  • Utilize results from student responses to educate Biosciences faculty/staff via multiple forums

  • Quarterly check in to collect additional student and postdoc responses to prompt (or related prompts) & report on how previous information has been shared/utilized

  • Advocate for the implementation of a campus-wide climate survey to assess racism, injustice, discrimination, and oppression

Evaluate current reporting processes and explore new mechanisms to improve mistreatment and bias reporting at the School of Medicine

  • Explore and implement mechanisms to improve the process for reporting mistreatment and bias in the School of Medicine

  • Host a Biosciences town hall for students, postdocs and faculty for university administrators to share the University Acts of Intolerance reporting and SOM reporting mechanisms and how individuals will be held accountable for actions

Encourage and support department and program efforts to improve diversity, equity and inclusion at the local level

  • Invite outside experts to lead faculty discussions about diversity, equity and time

  • Partner with School of Medicine Basic Science department and program chairs to identify faculty diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) liaison(s) (following the example from clinical departments)

  • Convene DEI liaisons on a regular basis to discuss progress, share best practices and work on the development of strategic plans to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging

  • Guide SOM Basic Science departments and programs through the development of personalized strategic diversity recruitment plans via the IDEAL graduate recruitment initiative

  • Guide SOM Basic Science departments and programs through the development of personalized strategic diversity recruitment plans via inclusion & belonging plans for current trainees

  • Hold a moderated Town Hall the week of Juneteenth to actively receive feedback on departmental progress on anti-Black racism

  • Ensure that those tasked with leading diversity and inclusion efforts have appropriate training by providing anti-racist and facilitation training for all Biosciences faculty and staff with DEI related roles

Address the impact of cultural taxation

  • Create OPA Excellence awards to include recognition for postdocs and faculty who champion diversity, equity and inclusion for the postdoc populations (OGE Awards already exist for students and faculty who support graduate students)

  • Develop mechanism for tracking faculty engagement in diversity, equity & inclusion initiatives

Enhance recruitment of trainees and faculty from marginalized groups

  • As part of the Biosciences strategic plan for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, document specific efforts and progress towards the existing Biosciences African, Black and Caribbean recruitment initiatives for students

  • Increase publicity regarding existing Senior Associate Dean funding commitment for faculty to attend conferences related to diversity and URM recruitment

  • Expand existing opportunities for students and postdocs from underrepresented backgrounds to attend diversity-focused conferences

  • Expand available training in best practices for mentoring, hiring, and teaching to optimize recruitment and the learning and working environment of those from diverse background

Enhance professional and career development opportunities for Black trainees and trainees from other marginalized groups

  • Build upon existing Hanna Gray Fellowship program offered by the Grant Writing Academy  and expand existing grant support through the Grant Writing Academy for diversity K-awards, diversity supplements, and other diversity focused awards

  • Expand commitment to broaden outreach with Biosciences departments and programs

  • Implement new mentoring and career development programs to support all postdocs to guarantee career readiness as they pursue their careers of choice

  • Develop resources for NIH Diversity Supplements

  • Expand access to lists of funding opportunities available to those from diverse background

  • Develop workshops specific for funding available to those from diverse background

  • Recruit postdocs from diverse background into paid Grant Coach positions

  • Expand multi-week Proposal Bootcamp to focused on NIH’s Diversity K Awards