Youth Engaged in Science (YES!)

YES! participants at a Society for Neuroscience event

The Developmental Cognition and Neuroimaging (DCAN) Labs developed an educational outreach program at Oregon Health & Science University, aimed to end educational and health disparities in underrepresented minority (URM) communities. Now that Dr. Anita Randolph, Program Director, and Dr. Damien Fair, Principal Investigator, have arrived at the University of Minnesota, we will continue the efforts here! 

One example of disparities both locations aim to address is that less than 2% of scientists with Ph.D.’s in the biological sciences are African American, even though African Americans make up 14% of the population. The representation of minority groups in other medical and health science professions are also low and disproportionate.

One of our approaches to addressing these issues is to offer enriching science educational programs to middle- and high-school students of underrepresented populations. We believe that these programs will bridge the gaps in educational and health equity between the community.

Because of this, we created the Youth Engaged in Science Initiative, YES!, which is a multi-faceted program aimed at exposing underrepresented students to scientific research and related careers. The YES! program conducts its outreach efforts in three ways:

  1. Bringing middle- and high-school URM students to the university to provide them with educational tours of clinical and research institutions and laboratories. 
  2. Sending graduate students and postdocs to middle- and high-schools to provide interactive lessons about the brain using our “Brain-in-a-Box” program developed in partnership with the OHSU Brain Institute.
  3. Provide summer- and year-long research internships in the DCAN Labs to high-school and undergraduate students.

We also reach out to community members of all ages by participating in different family events, science talks open to the public, and more. Please explore the tabs to the left to learn more about the different types of programming that YES! coordinates, then reach out to us if you would like to schedule one of our outreach events!

In this OHSU Week podcast, Dr. Damien Fair, Dr. Anita Randolph, and Dr. Binyam Nardos share about the YES! program and how we connect our community to the incredible research and opportunities available at OHSU. Interview starts at 2:05.