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Message from the Director of the Center for Empathy and Social Justice in Human Health

Gentry Patrick

Dr. Gentry Patrick
Director of the Center for Empathy and Social Justice in Human Health

In Chancellor Pradeep Khosla's Strategic Plan for UC San Diego, Diversity is listed as a top priority. The Plan cites as a goal;

Cultivating a diverse and inclusive university community that encourages respectful open dialogue, and challenges itself to take bold actions that will ensure learning is accessible and affordable for all.

In alignment with Chancellor Khosla and his vision for UC San Diego, the School of Biological Sciences considers Diversity as paramount to our success. It is a culture that creates a foundation of respect and provides for vision and innovation within our Division. We believe that diversity and academic excellence are not divergent, but rather greatly depend on each other. The research taking place at UC San Diego in the life sciences and across STEM profoundly impacts the future of the Division, UC San Diego, our community, and beyond. As envisioned in UC San Diego's Strategic Plan, we consider it critical to support communications, programs, and resources to build a COMMUNITY of INCLUSION and RESPECT that will drive innovation and excellence in academia and research. Through our collective efforts, the Division is leading the way by example on the UC San Diego campus. We are pleased to offer various resources of empowerment by way of programs, initiatives, and people who are in place to help our community learn, teach, research, and engage with one another at the highest level.

I encourage you to stay involved with our efforts and contact our EDI Committee representatives with your ideas and insights.

Dr. Gentry Patrick
Director of the Center for Empathy and Social Justice in Human Health
Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion
School of Biological Sciences, UC San Diego
Read Dr. Patrick's biography


Challenges, Goals, & Plan of Action

Historic Challenges


Institutional data shows that underserved and/or underrepresented minority (URM) students have struggled to persist in Biological Sciences, with only approximately 30-35% of them graduating within four years.

Incoming Fall 2009 Freshman Class: Student Cohorts in Biology

Underrepresented Minority (URM) Students defined as Black/African American, American-Indian/Alaska Native, Mexican/Chicano, Other Spanish/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. For more information, visit the  UC San Diego Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion accountability dashboard.
All Ethnicities URM Students
Graduated in 4 Years 59% 34%
Graduated in 5 Years 86% 73%
Graduated in 6 Years 89% 75%


Underrepresented minority undergraduate and graduate students have provided anecdotal evidence of a lack of inclusivity in the School of Biological Sciences, citing deficiencies in critical success indicators as: multi-cultural representation within faculty and student body; access to or communication of centralized resources for student support; and accessibility of mentors for the development of students’ personal identities in STEM.


The School of Biological Sciences realizes that there is a need for improved efforts to more effectively bridge the San Diego community. In order to be more representative of our surrounding community, the School of Biological Sciences must cultivate dynamic relationships with campus and community partners to gain a clearer institutional understanding of how to better serve a socioeconomically diverse student body and develop more comprehensive educational infrastructure and environment.


The School of Biological Sciences aims to achieve the following goals in order to address these historic challenges.


  • Increase rates of graduation and retention of underserved and URM students, will improving overall time-to-degree rates.
  • Increase socioeconomic and cultural diversity of student body, staff, and faculty.
  • Improve success rates of students in terms of job placement, professional trajectory beyond graduation, and perceived personal success.


  • Create more inclusive spaces within the Division.
  • Provide accessible, comprehensive sources for academic, cultural, and financial support.
  • Improve processes for and access to personalized academic advising.
  • Develop more effective network and infrastructure for peer, faculty, and alumni mentorship.


  • Establish a presence in the surrounding community to facilitate outreach and programming.
  • Create a pipeline for success and support of prospective and current students via community, academic, and philanthropic partnerships.
  • Engage community members and representatives in collaborative discussions and programming that brings the voices of the San Diego community onto the UC San Diego campus.
  • Broker the commitment of local industry to invest in student success and professional development on the UC San Diego campus and within local neighborhoods.

Plan of Action

The Director of Mentorship and Diversity and the School of Biological Sciences will strive to achieve the following list of goals, which are critical to the success of our mission;

Increase Awareness in the Division and on campus of our current and future efforts towards improving mentorship and diversity, both on and off the UC San Diego campus.

Provide Input to the Division EDI Committee, chairs, and Deans related to increasing diversity of our faculty and students.

Pursue Funding and collaborate relationships and communication in the areas of mentorship and diversity both on campus and off.

Bridge the Community by recruiting faculty and students to engage in outreach and provide opportunities within the local community.

Increase Mentorship to all current students including students from diverse and underserved backgrounds.