VCR Collard on IDEA in UCSF Research

In his regular video message series, Vice Chancellor for Research Harold Collard provides an update on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Anti-racism (IDEA) efforts in the UCSF research enterprise.

Referencing the June 2024 Office of Research Town Hall spotlight on this topic, VCR Collard shares his personal commitment to IDEA efforts in research and highlights key outcomes from the office of Associate Vice Chancellor for Research IDEA Tung Nguyen, MD, including its Research Participant Demographic Dashboard and Anti-Racism Consultation Service.


Full Transcript


Continuing my series of brief communications about big-picture topics facing UCSF’s research community, I want to talk today about racism in health research and the efforts of the Office of Research and other institutional partners to address it. 


Professor and journalist Linda Villarosa writes in her 2022 book Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of our Nation that the root cause of racial health disparities is racism. About Black Americans, she writes “Income, education, determination, and self-empowerment can help individual Black Americans but cannot... erase the negative effects of centuries of discrimination and ongoing bias on the health of African Americans.” One of the most important areas that racism acts to create these health disparities is in health research. 


In 2020, under the leadership of then-provost Dan Lowenstein, a UCSF task force was created to develop a report on equity and anti-racism in research at UCSF. That report, published in late 2022 and available on the office of research website, outlines seven themes and 164 recommendations for UCSF research leadership.


At the top of the list are four structural changes: 

  • Establishing a system of accountability on anti-racism and equity for the UCSF research enterprise 
  • Promoting and supporting UCSF anti-racism scholarship 
  • Creating and supporting a more diverse UCSF research workforce 
  • Promoting and supporting community-engaged research 

I am deeply committed to addressing racism in health research and supporting the recommendations of this important report. In partnership with the Office of Diversity and Outreach, the Office of Research has established a new Associate Vice Chancellor position focused on research inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism. Tung Nguyen is the inaugural incumbent of this role, and I am deeply grateful for the remarkable work of his office over the last year to support the research community in this work. 


Under Tung’s leadership, we have developed metrics and dashboards to provide transparency and accountability to UCSF’s clinical trial participation. These complement the already robust data provided by the Office of Diversity and Outreach regarding faculty, staff and trainees. We have established anti-racism in research consultation services to assist researchers in addressing bias across the spectrum of research activities, and we have institutionalized pilot grant funding for anti-racism research administered through Tung’s office. Working closely with many stakeholders at UCSF including the Center for Community Engagement and the School of Medicine Differences Matter leadership, and with colleagues at San Francisco State University, we are working to expand UCSF’s research workforce development partnerships and strengthen our institutional collaboration and trust in the community. I welcome you to view our recent Office of Research Town Hall where these activities are described in more detail; you can find a link to the recording on the Office of Research website.  


I hope this brief discussion of racism in research and the Office of Research’s efforts to address it has helped you to understand the issue and motivated you to think critically about how you might contribute to addressing the structural biases that racism has created in our system. 

I am happy to hear from you with questions, feedback, or ideas on this topic. You can reach me at [email protected]