This is a competing renewal application for the Tulane BIRCWH Program, which has successfully trained a racially/ethnically and professionally diverse group of interdisciplinary researchers in women's health and increased awareness of women's health research at Tulane over the last 4 years. We propose now to build on our prior success and expand and reinforce the BIRCWH program base. The long-term goal is to increase the number and diversity of highly trained culturally competent, independent, interdisciplinary investigators in Women's Health with an emphasis on Sex Differences research in the field of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and related diseases. The program focuses on CVD and related diseases because of the impacts of heart dis- ease on women, the existing knowledge gaps on the sex differences in CVD across the research spectrum, and the strength of this focus at Tulane. Key components of our successful career development plan include 1) didactic courses tailored to specific Scholar needs;2) individualized career development training;3) BIRCWH seminar series;4) Work-in-Progress sessions;5) required grant writing and project management workshops;6) mentored interdisciplinary research;and 7) responsible conduct in research training. The innovative approach includes tailoring the program to Scholars needs via 2 career development tracks (Track 1 for Scholars with limited research experience;Track 2 for Scholars with prior research experience), and using a network mentoring model for each Scholar, including expertise in both basic science and clinical research. Scholars are immediately exposed to research and are guided to establish a scholarly track record early, and gain presentation and organization skills by active participation in the Women's Health Research day. New components of the enhanced BIRCWH program include additional faculty participation in new disciplines, in- creased interdisciplinary interactions between basic scientists and clinical researchers through network mentoring, strengthened collaboration with Xavier, a historically Black, less-research-intensive institution, and enhanced access to institutional resources. The Scholars will learn cutting-edge research methods and skills from Bench (cellular, molecular, and genetics), to Bedside (clinical research and clinical trials) to Population (epidemiology, prevention, and health services research) and conduct their own research projects in established laboratories/research groups in a mentored, interdisciplinary environment that address the most recent ORWH priorities. Scholar's interdisciplinary research activities will focus on sex differences in CVD and related diseases and their risk factors and address overarching themes (lifespan, sex/gender determinants, health disparities, and interdisciplinary research). We propose to train 8 faculty Scholars for a minimum of 2-3 years (3 years minimum for physician-scientists). Ongoing and comprehensive evaluation will guide improvements to the program's demonstrated effectiveness in bridging research training and research independence for junior investigators focused on Sex Differences and CVD.
There is a critical need to determine sex differences in cardiovascular and related diseases across the research spectrum in order to improve health and reduce the fragmentation in women's health care. In order to most effectively tackle the significant problems in women's health, including sex differences, there needs to be a diverse workforce prepared to undertake interdisciplinary, collaborative research. To this end, the Tulane BIRCWH program will provide mentored career development for junior faculty to increase the number of highly trained independent investigators engaged in women's health research in the field of cardiovascular and related diseases, with an emphasis on sex differences research across the lifespan.
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