COMPASS Undergraduate Program

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COMPASS Undergraduate Program

Statement of Benefit to California:
The COMPASS Undergraduate Program will provide extensive benefits to the state of California and its citizens by helping to close the equity gap in higher education and enabling community members to thrive and reach their full potential in regenerative medicine careers. The program focuses on outreach to and recruitment and retention of diverse and economically disadvantaged individuals in California to achieve the goal of engaging students who identify with an underrepresented group, and to serve as a pipeline for regenerative medicine careers. The objective is to ensure rich educational and training experiences with dedicated mentors/mentoring teams that will nurture skills and cross-cutting competencies for career options in areas such as science policy, research administration, regulatory science, cellular product manufacturing, and ethically conducted clinical trials, in addition to other health related careers. The COMPASS program will benefit California by: • Supporting student communities, particularly to address implicit and explicit bias and structural inequalities. • Building a pipeline that recruits and engages students from diverse backgrounds with a range of career pathways. • Enabling students to effectively communicate with a variety of audiences (e.g., government, regulatory agencies, community) and work with policy makers to advance initiatives to improve healthcare and address health disparities. • Providing rich opportunities for students to engage with faculty that focus on underserved and underrepresented communities. • Ensuring participation in longitudinal curriculum with workshops, courses, and activities focused on diversity in science and healthcare. • Committing to training in community-engaged research principles and strategies, including communicating science effectively to the public. • Building public trust by cultivating responsibility and a capacity for public scholarship and engagement in trainees. • Offering a range of accessible resources to foster the skills necessary for working in a multicultural community, and that will contribute to a respectful and inclusive work environment. • Connecting community engagement activities from a diverse coalition of programs that ensures clinical research opportunities are provided to all, particularly those from underrepresented and vulnerable groups. • Engaging a cross-section of stakeholder communities, including community-based organizations and individuals, to provide critical feedback that ensures an effective sustainable program. Well-trained, dedicated personnel within the state of California are needed to eliminate roadblocks to new therapies and that can address health care disparities. The program will ensure well qualified applicants for the regenerative medicine workforce and in health care positions in California, thus highlighting the long-term benefits to the state and its citizens. By engaging students from historically underrepresented groups with equity-centered and inclusive training and mentoring practices, the COMPASS program will increase the diversity of California's regenerative medicine, stem cell, and gene therapy expertise and provide future leaders in the field that will benefit patients and communities.