#BWNFridayPost: Community-engaged approach can help address bias and lack of diversity/inclusion in neuroscience research

link to full article and the paper it is discussing (authors: Shayna La Scala, Jordan L. Mullins, Rengin B. Firat, Kalina J. Michalska)

This article by Iqbal Pittalwala interviews Dr. Kalina Michalska (one of the authors of “Equity, diversity, and inclusion in developmental neuroscience: Practical lessons from community-based participatory research“), and discusses the benefits and importance of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) for fighting bias in research. CBPR works to “actively involve the population of interest in the research process and require[s] collaboration and trust between community partners and researchers” for fighting bias in research.

Here are some insightful quotes from the interview article:

  • “CBPR asks: how will the lives of people in communities be impacted by a specific piece of research and do those people have a voice in whether and how the research will be conducted?”
  • “…as magnetic resonance imaging and other neuroscientific techniques get more incorporated into the mental health research agenda, it is incumbent on neuroscientists to pay close attention to diversity and representation in their work. Regrettably, in neuroscience, many discussions around these issues today do not involve the community under study.”
  • “We need to open communication channels and check in with our research participants to help minimize such biases,” she said. “Already, neuroscience research has a severe underrepresentation of marginalized groups as study participants; Black, Latina, and other women of color are conspicuously absent. Such exclusion directly harms communities and prevention and intervention approaches, such as medical protocols, mental health recommendations, and governmental policy creation, can get biased. CBPR can be a remedy and facilitate impactful change in neuroscience.”
  • “Including communities in the research design and interpretation can be a powerful learning opportunity for community members to experience first-hand how research is done,” she said. “This could especially empower young people.”

For more details about how this can be incorporated into a neuroscience research project, read the full paper it’s based on here!