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The podcast It Starts With Us featured Lieber Institute Director & CEO Dr. Daniel Weinberger and African Ancestry Neuroscience Research Initiative head Rev. Al Hathaway.

Racial Disparities in Science: A Podcast

Did you know the very vast majority of genomic datasets used in scientific research today come from people of Caucasian ancestry? That means the drugs, diagnostic tools and other discoveries made based on studying these datasets might not work as intended if patients are of African or other ancestries. African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems and twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. But only 5% of participants in brain disorder research are people from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.

Not to mention that African American scientists make up just about 4% of neuroscience PhDs, according to the Society for Neuroscience.

It’s a well-established fact that diversity in neuroscience — in those participating in research as well as those conducting it — is crucial to producing high-quality data that can help patients and their families.

It’s for these reasons that the Lieber Institute for Brain Development partnered with Morgan State University to found the African Ancestry Neuroscience Research Initiative (AANRI), a project aimed at increasing the number of scientists and research participants with African ancestry. The AANRI is already preparing to publish its first scientific research paper examining the data gathered from hundreds of brains of African ancestry, part of the Lieber Institute’s collection of about 4,000 donated brains used for neuropsychiatric research.

Learn much more about the AANRI and disparities in biomedical research from an episode of the It Starts with Us podcast, featuring Dr. Weinberger and Rev. Hathaway. Listen here.