Duke University, a research intensive institution, and North Carolina Central University, a historically black institution, have united to provide career development of junior faculty in interdisciplinary women's health research through the renewal of the BIRCWH Award. The long term goal is to develop independent women's health researcher careers. The Duke/NCCU BIRCWH is a strong, vibrant program that has the leadership and institutional commitment for continued success in the development of junior investigators. The collaboration between Duke and NCCU strengthens our goal of training minority scholars. Our objectives are 1) Develop highly skilled, innovative junior researchers investigating women's health and sex/gender elements of health and disease across a woman's lifespan through the use of interdisciplinary approaches;2) Foster research on health disparities and diversity and create an environment for the discovery of new insights into pressing minority health problems by promoting interdisciplinary team science and by identifying and recruiting minority Scholars;and 3) Encourage novel interdisciplinary research on all aspects of women's health emphasizing the merits of all scientific categories and methods. This application describes the major contributions of our Scholars to women's health research and the impact on our institutional environment related to women's health research. Scientific areas studied include pregnancy-related conditions that affect the mother, fetus and neonate, as well as obesity, cardio-vascular disease, and breast and gynecological cancers. The under- researched and poorly understood gynecological diseases of uterine fibroids, urogynecological conditions including pelvic floor prolapse, and diseases in elderly women such as depression are also addressed. We plan to support four junior faculty members (at least one individual from NCCU) at any one time. Scholars choose a primary mentor from a core group of nationally known senior investigators from both Duke and NCCU. A second mentor is chosen from among the entire senior faculty to maximize interdisciplinary collaborations. The career development program is individualized and spans two to five years depending on the research area and the Scholar's educational needs. The program consists of an intense hands-on research project supervised by mentors, a seminar series, training in responsible conduct of research and didactic course work. An annual BIRCWH Symposium presents the work of BIRCWH Scholars to the wider research communities at Duke and NCCU. At the completion of the program the Scholars are expected to have published their results in peer-reviewed journals and obtained funding as a Principal Investigator. The Scholars'progress is monitored by the Leadership Team and the Internal Advisory Board. This IAB and an External Advisory Board evaluate the program and advise the Leadership Team. Thus, the Duke/NCCU BIRCWH program will ensure the availability of a diverse pool of highly trained women's health researchers to address the Nation's biomedical, behavioral, and clinical needs.
Duke University, a major research university, and North Carolina Central University, a historic black university, both in Durham, NC partner for this innovative training program in women's health research. Selected junior faculty from these institutions will receive formal education, mentoring, and will conduct innovative research relevant to women's health across the lifespan. The program will have a strong component investigating factors that create health disparities. Through interdisciplinary research we seek to train junior faculty for independent research careers that will improve women's health.
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