YES! Youth Engaged in Science is a multi-faceted outreach program run by the DCAN Lab to counter educational and health disparities in underrepresented minority communities. As an example, African Americans hold less than 2% of PhDs in the biological sciences despite comprising approximately 14% of the US population. The numbers are just as disquieting in other professional fields in medicine and health sciences.
To address these issues, our outreach efforts aim to expose underrepresented students to science, research & STEM-related careers. YES! aims to get students excited about science through education, mentorship, and hands-on experience. The program also educates families about mental health and the importance of community participation in biomedical research, with the hopes of increasing enrollment of underrepresented populations in clinical studies.
To this end, YES! conducts its outreach efforts in three ways:
- Bringing middle and high school underrepresented students from Portland-area public schools to OHSU to provide them with educational tours of clinical and research institutions and laboratories.
- Sending graduate students and postdocs to Portland area 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.
- Provide summer and year-long research internships in the DCAN Labs to high school and undergraduate students.
We believe that these programs will bridge the gaps in educational and health equity between OHSU and the Portland, OR community at large.