The University of Kentucky (UK) is uniquely positioned to continue using exceptional and outstanding research infrastructure to train the next generation of women's health scholars. We choose to focus our scholarship efforts on those health challenges unique to Appalachian Kentucky. Because the Appalachian region is disproportionately affected by drug abuse, violence, and poor health, we will actively engage women living in Appalachian Kentucky in our research agenda with research flowing bidirectionally between communities and researchers. This approach will continue to provide our BIRCWH scholars with state-of-the-art multidisciplinary training leading to their development as faculty with independent NIH funding. The focused areas targeted towards improving women's health in this application include: 1) substance abuse, 2) violence against women, and 3) hormonal regulation across a woman's lifespan. UK is uniquely position to address violence against women because UK has the only US Center focusing on research to prevent violence against women. Through this BIRCWH program, strengthening the capacity for women's health research will be accomplished by the following Specific Aims: 1) to provide the environment, mentorship, and facilities to enhance the ability of BIRCWH scholars to compete for NIH research grants in diverse areas of women's health research, 2) to deepen our understanding of the unique role of gender in the manifestation of health and disease, 3) to stimulate new collaborations in focused, interdisciplinary, and interactive research areas that are essential for improving women's health;and 4) to use a thematic multidisciplinary focus as a platform for enhancing translational research between basic, clinical and public health scientists. Key aspects of training will include: (a) pairing the BIRCWH scholar with senior level scientists and former BIRCWH scholars forming a research team and thus modeling interdisciplinary collaboration, (b) providing these teams with access to cutting edge technologies, and (c) providing scholars with training in concepts relevant to women's health. A strength of our BIRCWH program is its multidisciplinary, cross-departmental, and interactive nature positioned in an area with unique health needs. As evident by the success of our former BIRCWH scholars, we are well positioned to continue the tradition of excellence in mentoring our scholars to become independent researchers in women's health.
Emphasizing gender differences in effective health care research and treatment is critical. We must train the next generation of scientists to recognize and apply these differences. This proposal will provide a platform to mentor and train promising young scientists in focused areas of women's health research to address the unique needs in women's health especially for those who are underserved.
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