SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The National Institutes of Health has awarded San Francisco State University a $17 million grant to work on improving diversity in the field of biomedical research. The goal is to transform the approach to this research across the country in a way that benefits all members of the population.

The principal investigator behind the grant, San Francisco State University Biology Professor Leticia Marquez-Magana said one of the outcomes of lack of diversity in biomedical research can be argued to be health disparities.

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Studies show underrepresented minorities are more likely to answer questions relevant to their minority communities. By increasing the representation of minorities what we can do is actually push for research agendas that focus on those questions that are most relevant to minority communities in terms of community health,” she said.

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The grant will be used to make the field more inviting for minorities in one way by case-based learning where the concepts themselves are related to how the students can give back to their communities.

“The students walk into the classroom and instead of thinking ‘Why am I here?’ They’re thinking, ‘Oh. I belong here.’”

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San Francisco State University is among 10 grant recipients nationwide.