What is the Black Male Professors and Researchers Collective (BMPRC) Initiative?
The BMPRC initiative is a hub to connect Black male doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, professors, and researchers with each other. Many Black men are often one of the few Black doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors in their respective department or field. The Collective aims to minimize the isolation that can result from the Only Black Male phenomenon.
Why was the Collective Created?
In 2019, 5.6 percent of all doctoral degree were earned by Blacks. Black men made up only 35.7 percent of all Black doctorate awardees. This gender gap in African American doctoral degree awards has remained steady over the past decade. Consequently, there are few Black professors.
The BMPRC initiative aims to help address the gender gap by (1) introducing young Black men to the benefits of doctoral education and (2) encouraging them to pursue doctoral studies by connecting them with experienced Black male scholars, professors, and researchers.
"The absence of Black male professionals in higher education poses a serious challenge to diversity and social justice in colleges and universities."
The Collective Aims To:
Increase the visibility of Black male professors and researchers both in the US and abroad and highlight the exciting and meaningful work we are doing.
Provide role models and support for younger brothers from elementary school to postdoctoral training to encourage consideration of careers as college professors or researchers.
Examine the facilitators of and barriers to Black men’s interest in, pursuit of, and success as students, professors, and researchers
Support institutions and programs seeking to recruit and support Black male professors and researchers.
Leverage different efforts to increase the number of Black male professors or researchers.
"But race matters for black men in these settings too. While they can capitalize on shared gendered experiences to bond with white men, who can serve in important roles as allies, sponsors, and mentors, they describe a sense of alienation and isolation on the job."
The “Only Black Male” No More: The Inception of the Black Male Professors and Researchers Collective
As a Black male scholar, Dr. Donaldson Conserve, has often had the experience of being the only Black male in the setting he was in. In graduate school at Penn State University, he was the only Black male doctoral student in his department for the majority of his time there. This pattern continued during his postdoctoral training, after he secured his first tenure-track assistant professor position, and when he participated in New York University’s Program to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE).
These experiences led Dr. Conserve to start viewing himself as the Only Black Male. When a PRIDE director asked for help recruiting Black males to the program, he knew he had to do something. As a former recruiter for the Science Organization of Minority Students and the Black Men’s Group at Queens College, Dr. Conserve had experience recruiting Black men. And, having participated in initiatives such as the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Connections program, he knew there were other Black male professors. Without a centralized platform for reaching them, however, recruitment was a challenge.
He started by creating a Facebook group called Black Male Doctors, Researchers, and Professors. The following year – in part due to the connections he made through this Facebook group – NYU PRIDE recruited more Black men than ever before. This experience fed Dr. Conserve’s interest in creating the BMPRC platform to connect Black male professors and researchers who might be, as he was, the Only Black Male in their setting. The platform would enable these men to support each other and share professional opportunities (such as NYU PRIDE). Also inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and his interest in mentoring, he saw an opportunity to inspire young Black men to become interested in research and careers as college professors. It was with these aims in mind that he created the BMPRC initiative with the guidance of the BMPRC Board Members.
Donaldson F. Conserve, PhD, MS
Milken Institute School of public Health
George Washington University
BMPRC Board Members
Founder & Director
Dr. Conserve is an associate professor in the Milken Institute School of Public Health, Department of Prevention and Community Health, at The George Washington University. His passion for research and global health was fueled by his childhood experiences in Haiti and a summer research internship in South Africa during his undergraduate years at Queens College of the City University of New York. He is currently leading community-based HIV self-testing research in Tanzania, Haiti, and the United States, and more recently started doing research on at-home COVID-19 self-testing. On a personal note, he is a loving husband and new father. To learn more, visit his GWSPH Faculty Page or follow him on Twitter: @drconservejr and Instagram: @dr.conservejr.
Dr. Ravenell is an associate professor in NYU Langone’s Departments of Population Health and Medicine. Dr. Ravenell has been a principal investigator for multiple National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grant–funded clinical trials to test community-based strategies to improve colon cancer screening and cardiovascular disease prevention among Black men in urban settings. This work has led to a research network of over 200 community-based sites including churches, barbershops, mosques, and social service agencies. Dr. Ravenell’s community-based research was the subject of an invited TED talk he delivered in Vancouver, BC, which has received over 1 million views. Dr. Ravenell is also an established mentor and he cultivates a holistic approach to promoting health equity through research, scholarship, and mentorship.
Dr. Rogers is a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Public Health at the University of Utah School of Medicine. In addition to serving as Founding Director of his Men’s Health Inequities Research Lab, he is also an Associate Member of Huntsman Cancer Institute and the University of Michigan-Mixed Methods Program. Dr. Rogers’ research agenda has contributed to translational solutions that address the complex underpinnings of inequalities in cancer and men’s health, with a primary focus on colorectal cancer awareness and prevention among African-American men for nearly 10 years. As an emerging leader of the cancer health disparities workforce, he has shared his knowledge across North America, Jamaica, East Africa, Japan, and also via a number of venues including newspapers, radio stations, national conferences, minority health fairs, and television. To learn more, visit crrogersPhD.com or follow Dr. Rogers on Twitter: @crrogersPhD
Dr. Whembolua is an Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management in the department of Africana studies and an affiliate faculty in the College of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati. As a behavioral scientist, his research explores the socio-cultural determinants of health among African populations (global health) and their diasporas (health disparities). Dr. Whembolua holds a PhD in biobehavioral health from The Pennsylvania State University.
Dr. Turner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Research and Leadership at The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Science and a Research Scientist at the Center for Biobehavioral Health Disparities Research at Duke University. He is the author of Not For Long: The Life and Career of an NFL Athlete, a study – based on interviews with more than 140 current and former National Football League (NFL) athletes – of what it means to pursue the dream of playing in the NFL and the struggles many players face after their playing days are over. He is also a contributor on the LeBron James HBO documentary “Student Athlete.” His experience as a former professional football player and as researcher provides an insightful perspective on the various factors that contribute to Black male health disparities. He attended James Madison University on an athletic scholarship, holds a MA from Queens College, and a PhD from the Graduate Center of The City University of New York.
Dr. Ledet is a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana. A US Navy veteran, he attended Southern University and A&M College, where he completed bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and biology. He then earned his PhD in molecular oncology and tumor immunology from NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Upon completing his PhD, he then began his medical training journey at the Tulane School of Medicine and Freeman School of Business. Dr. Ledet has co-founded The 15 White Coats, an organization that provides inspiration and economic support to help propel underrepresented minority students to the next levels of education. Dr. Ledet has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, The Steve Harvey Show, Good Morning America, and in People magazine and The Washington Post. Following medical school, he plans to focus on the accessibility of mental-health services for marginalized communities. He is a husband and a father of two daughters.
Dr. Wright is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Higher Education Administration and Interim Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. His research interests encompass access, diversity, and equity policies for underserved populations in higher education; the use and influence of social science research in/on law; critical race theory and critical pedagogy in post-secondary education; and education law, First Amendment jurisprudence, and American equal protection theory. He is currently the National Coordinator for the Council on Legal Education Opportunity’s Legally Inspired Cohort program, which focuses on increasing access to law school for minority students. He holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from The Pennsylvania State University and is licensed to practice law in New York and New Jersey.