April 30th, 2024

A message from the BCBA leadership team:

In the face of the June 2023 SCOTUS ruling declaring Affirmative Action programs unconstitutional1, we at BCBA acknowledge that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives may face greater scrutiny. Subsequently, there has been an uptick of anti-DEI bills and legislation targeting higher educational institutions coupled with corporate pullback on DEI initiatives2-5. Despite the uncertainty of this new political landscape, we reaffirm our commitments to pursuing equity in STEM participation and research outcomes and making biotech a more welcoming, accessible, and inclusive field to a greater diversity of backgrounds and perspectives.

At BCBA, we believe this diversity is critical to continuing scientific innovation. We recognize that disparities in health outcomes between different racial demographics persist, that research inclusive of and educated on minoritized racial populations is sparse, and that biotechnology and medicine as a whole has a racist and sexist history. We also recognize that underrepresented individuals in STEM and biotech include not only racial and gender minorities, but socioeconomic and immigration status minorities, those with disability or chronic illnesses, and first-generation students. We aim to do our part to right past wrongs and promote inclusive participation to achieve greater health and economic parity.

To this end, we have developed the following action items for 2024, led by our DEI team:

  1. Better understand BCBA demographics to increase access for underrepresented scientists: Our forthcoming project applications will include a more extensive demographic survey so that we can:
    1. Assess who receives information about BCBA and who is motivated to participate.
    2. Develop strategies to improve recruitment of a wider diversity of participants. Note: application reviewers are blind to this data; we do not consider personal social identities in making decisions about applications.
  2. Better support underrepresented scientists during and after their BCBA projects: We are developing mid-project and exit surveys to ensure scientists, particularly those who might lack similarly-identifying peers, are getting what they need out of these projects.
  3. Expand BCBA’s reach: We aim to grow our network of participants by making inroads and developing relationships with HBCUs and national identity organizations such as SACNAS and ABRCMS.

Though we are committed to these actions, we acknowledge that these are merely the first steps towards the larger goal of achieving research equity. As such, we encourage all members of our STEM community to exchange ideas about how to better reach this goal. Within our community of over 2,500 life science trainees and professionals across the Bay Area, we believe that it is our added responsibility to amplify voices that may otherwise be minimized. If you have a story to tell, message to share, or recommendation for improvement in our commitment to DEI, please reach out to us so we can make it heard via our online Viewpoints and Community News platforms. The path to progress will involve collective effort; let’s take action today to build a better, equitable future where we can all thrive.


  1. https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/22pdf/20-1199_hgdj.pdf
  2. https://www.axios.com/2024/01/31/anti-dei-bills-target-colleges-surge-antiracism
  3. https://www.npr.org/2024/03/04/1235725631/university-florida-cuts-dei-office
  4. https://www.nea.org/nea-today/all-news-articles/anti-dei-laws-take-aim-students-color-and-lgbtq-students
  5. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/students/diversity/2023/12/19/texas-institutions-prepare-anti-dei-law-go-effect