D&I Advisors

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism

Our primary mission is to provide graduate training in molecular biology to outstanding students in an inclusive and supportive environment. We fervently believe that black lives matter and believe it’s important to promote an anti-racist culture within our program. We are committed to listening to the concerns of students and identifying ways we can create a community in which each person feels valued and heard.

A Commitment to Transparency

Statistics on our applicant pool, our current student population and our Faculty are available in a number of places.  The MBIDP is part of Graduate Programs in Bioscience (GPB) and through GPB, the Next Generation Life Sciences Coalition. Members of the Coalition commit to collecting and publishing data on various aspects of their programs including demographics by gender, underrepresented minority status and citizenship.

Data on MBIDP enrollment, admissions, time-to-degree, and degree completion by demographics is also available at https://grad.ucla.edu/graduate-program-statistics/ (select Molecular Biology under the “Major” tab for each category). The number of students in the program from under-represented minority backgrounds (URM) has increased from 13% in 2014 to 31% in 2019.

The UCLA Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion publishes demographic data on students, staff and faculty, on itsBruinX Dashboards”.

A Commitment to Inclusion

A new MBI/MBIDP Diversity and Inclusion Committee, composed of MBI faculty, postdocs and students, will discuss and provide input on MBI and MB-IDP issues involving DEI. Some areas for discussion are mentor training for faculty, promoting diversity in recruitment and diverse representation in invited guest speakers.

A Commitment to Training

We encourage all MBI faculty to take part in mentor training programs to promote inclusivity in their research groups. Two national organizations, Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research and the National Research Mentoring Network have developed a mentoring curriculum to support students and faculty at all stages of their career. The Graduate Programs in Bioscience offers an annual Advancing Faculty Mentoring Practices Workshop, which is based on the national curriculum. We are partnering with GPB to plan more frequent training workshops and to report faculty participation to graduate students choosing their rotation labs.

Academics for Black Survival and Wellness provides workshops run by Black academics to educate non-Black academics on anti-Black racism in America and Academia. We encourage our faculty to participate in these trainings and to discuss their implications for the UCLA environment.

Celebrating Achievement

A growing number of our students from under-represented minorities are being recognized for their academic achievements and leadership.
The HHMI Gilliam program ensures that populations historically excluded from and underrepresented in science are prepared to assume leadership roles, including as college and university faculty. The MBIDP currently has 6 students and their mentors who have been awarded Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study.
They are:

  • Jessica Ochoa (Todd Yeates)
  • Lauren Thurlow (Tracy Johnson)
  • Raquel Aragon (Melissa Spencer)
  • Gloria Hernandez (Luisa Iruela-Arispe)
  • Devin Gibbs (April Pyle)
  • Clara Cano (Kathrin Plath)
  • Kelly Kennewick (Steven Bensinger)

Eugene V. Cota-Robles Diversity Fellowships support individuals from cultural, racial, linguistic, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in graduate education. Awardees are chosen based on their drive and motivation to overcome barriers in education, their engagement in programs focused on increasing representation of underrepresented groups and their commitment to contribute to diversity and equal opportunity in higher education.   This year (2020) the program will have 22 students supported by Cota-Robles fellowships.     

UCLA Groups Committed to DEI

Advancing Women in Science
AMEBAucla.ameba@gmail.comAssociation for MultiEthnic Bioscientists' Advancement
CDLScdls.ucla@gmail.comCenter for Diverse Leadership in Science
OCDSocds.ucla@gmail.comOrganization for Cultural Diversity in Science
SACNASsacnas@ucla.eduSociety for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science
SPGuclascipolgroup@gmail.comScience Policy Group at UCLA
Queer & Trans in STEMqstem@ucla.eduBringing together LGBTQIA+ in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
BSCbsc@ucla.eduThe UCLA Biological Sciences Council is the graduate student government that represents students within the Biological Sciences.

Click Here to Learn More About Student Groups at UCLA

How do I report an incident of bias?

The University and the program have a number of resources for reporting bias and obtaining advice and support.
Office of Ombuds Services is a place where members of the UCLA community–students, faculty, staff and administrators–can go for assistance in resolving conflicts, disputes or complaints on an informal basis. In order to afford visitors the greatest freedom in using its services, the Office is independent, neutral and confidential.

If you observe or are involved in an incident of bias, reach out to a Student Affairs Officer, a Home Area Director, Diana Azurdia, Greg Payne, Hilary Coller, Paul Barber (DEI Director for Life Sciences) or Lynn Gordon (DEI Director for the Medical School). Any of them can help you to report the incident.

Incidents of bias can also be reported here: https://equity.ucla.edu/report-an-incident/

The EDI Office has an Office of Civil Rights. Within that office, you can report UCLA PD incidents to the S,D&C group and report faculty to the Discrimination Prevention Office.

What other resources are available?

Mental Health Services and Crisis Intervention

Immediate Student Crisis Support

  • UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services – Crisis counselor: 24-hours daily
    • (310) 825-0768
  • Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center 24-hour Crisis Hotline
    • (310) 391-1253
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24-hour toll-free suicide prevention service:
    • 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    • Crisis Text Line 741-741

Behavioral Wellness Center (BWC)

  • One-on-one counseling and comprehensive behavioral health services
  • Short-term psychotherapy
  • Psychiatric consultation
  • Information about community-based services and resources
  • 12 Free Visits (Services are covered by insurance and co-pays have been waived)
  • For appointments, call (310) 562-4328 between 8am and 5pm or (310) 825-9605 after hours, or by email bwc@mednet.ucla.edu
  • Location: First floor of the UCLA Center for the Health Sciences (CHS 18-218)

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)

  • One-on-one counseling and comprehensive behavioral health services
  • 24-hour emergency call line, (310) 825-0768
  • Non-UCLA Clinic psychiatrists & therapists
  • 6 Free Visits (no insurance or co-pay required)
  • ADHD Assessment, Support/Treatment Services, and Group Therapy
  • For appointments, call (310) 825-0768
  • Location: 221 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095

My Student Support Program (My SSP)

A service to support the emotional health and wellbeing of international students in different languages.

Consultation and Response Team (CRT)

Report concerns about the health or safety of a student in distress
(310) 825-7291, https://www.studentincrisis.ucla.edu/when-to-refer-a-student

Behavioral Intervention Team

Report violent behavior or threats of harm from staff or faculty that affects the workplace

Bruin Wellness Services & Resources (pdf)
What to do if a friend/loved one is in crisis (pdf)
Graduate Student Presentation on Depression & Anxiety 9-25-2017 (pdf)

Addressing Issues and Challenges

There are several options to help addressing issues related to interactions with your faculty adviser, lab members, or other members of the UCLA community, as well as issues with research/academic progress.  Which of these is most appropriate will depend on the circumstances, but in general the order presented in recommended.  If you are not comfortable contacting anyone in your program, then you should reach out to one of the options indicated with open circles.  The graduate case managers are a great resource if you are not sure where to start.  While privacy is possible for each option, the degree of confidentiality will depend on the specific circumstances and should be discussed at the outset.  Only the Ombuds Office is strictly confidential.

GPB has a Conflict Resolution Policy for issues between a student and their dissertation adviser, and a policy for what is required if a faculty member wants to withdraw as dissertation adviser and have the student leave the research group (Policy on Faculty Advisor-initiated Student Withdrawal from Lab).  

  • Faculty adviser
  • Home Area/PhD program Director
  • Home Area/PhD program SAO
  • Dissertation committee member
  • Greg Payne, GPB Director and Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, DGSOM and College Life Sciences, gpayne@mednet.ucla.edu
  • Diana Azurdia, GPB Director for Recruitment and Inclusion, DAzurdia@mednet.ucla.edu
  • Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Case Manager (see details below)
  • Ombuds Office (see details below)
  • Department Chair
  • Graduate Division Associate Dean
  • School/Division Dean
  • Graduate Student Resource Center (see details below)
  • Center for Accessible Education (see details below)

Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Case Managers

  • Assist students who are experiencing challenges that affect their well-being or academic life.  Case Managers are a great resource if you are not sure where to go for support for a particular issue.
    • Yuting Wu, Case Manager, Graduate Division, (310) 794-5861
  • For international students:

UCLA Office of Ombuds Services (strictly confidential)

  • Place to go for assistance in resolving conflicts, disputes or complaints on an informal basis
  • For appointments call (310) 206-2427
  • Location: Strathmore Building Suite 105, 501 Westwood Plaza) Office hours 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday or by appointment

Graduate Student Resource Center

Center for Accessible Education

Students with Dependents

Equity and Inclusion

For issues about equity and inclusion, or if you are uncertain if you should report an incident, contact the GPB Director of Recruitment and Inclusion or the Equity Adviser of the unit your program is associate with.

Equity Advisers

Onyebuchi ArahGraduate Division
(310) 206-0050

Paul BarberLife Sciences
(310) 794-5349

Kathleen Brown (Interim EA), Medicine
(310) 267-8708

Edmond Hewlett, Dentistry
(310) 825-7097

Harassment, Discrimination, or Retaliation

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

General information and resources about discrimination based on

  • race, ethnicity, ancestry, color;
  • sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation;
  • national origin, citizenship status;
  • religion;
  • disability, pregnancy, medical condition, genetic predisposition;
  • domestic partnership /  marital status;
  • age;
  • veteran status

Sexual/Gender Violence, Harassment, Discrimination or Retaliation

CARE Program

Confidential support for survivors of sexual violence

Title IX Office

General information and Resources

Report an incident


Racial, Ethnic, and Other Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation not related to sex/gender

General information and reporting https://equity.ucla.edu/report-an-incident/

ADA/504 Office

For issues related to disabilities https://www.ada.ucla.edu/

For other issues: report an incident

Financial Wellness

UCLA Financial Wellness

Supports students to navigate their finances in a way that supports their overall well-being.

Economic Crisis Response Team

The Economic Crisis Response Team (ECR TEAM) provides support and guidance to students who have self-identified, or are identified by UCLA faculty or staff, as experiencing a financial crisis that impacts their academic success at UCLA.

  • Short Term Loans (more than Short-Term Loan Program)
  • Emergency Housing
  • Food Vouchers

Student Loan Services and Collections Short-Term Loan Program

(up to $200-$350)

UCLA Basic Needs Committee

Resources for basic food needs of UCLA students

Graduate Student Hardship Fund (Graduate Student Association)

Helps students with unforeseen expenses arising from a crisis

Student Legal Services

Provides low-cost confidential legal counseling and assistance regarding a wide range of legal issues to all currently registered and enrolled UCLA students. (310) 825-9894

Campus Fitness

UCLA Recreation
FitZone Classes (Free Group Exercise)
Fitwell Education (Classes on Wellness)


UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center (MARC)
6-week long mindfulness classes in a variety of locations around Los Angeles and online.  Lunchtime drop-in meditation in WW and SMH. 100s of recorded 30 minute mindfulness sessions on their website. Daylong retreats at the WW UCLA campus.

Student Wellness & Reporting Resources

Other Campus Resources

International & Undocumented Student Resources

Bioscience Student Groups

Fellowship Incentive Program

Research Training Funding

NIH T32 Training Grants

COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 Wellness Resources

Health Equity Hub: An on-campus space in CHS that is available for students/events by request via this Google Form. The values of the Health Equity Hub can be found here.