The ultimate goal of the Building Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health (BIRCWH) program at Michigan State University (MSU) is to increase the number and diversity of researchers in women's health by providing an inspiring and supportive environment for accomplishment and advancement. The University and the College of Human Medicine (lead college) have pledged matching funds to allow recruitment of additional scholars and to encourage participation of physician-scientists. The MSU BIRCWH program is founded on key strengths of the institution, including the Center for Breast Health and the Environment and the Center for Women's Health and Reproduction, both of which will provide mentorship and a supportive environment for scholars. BIRCWH mentors are internationally recognized senior researchers, who are experienced and skilled mentors. The mentors have been chosen to reflect the overarching theme of health across the lifespan and the dimensions that influence health: biology, environment, and behavior. The MSU Office of Inclusion has agreed to partner directly with the administrative team to ensure that the program is attractive to women and minority researchers. The Advisory Committee includes distinguished researchers and leaders, including the leaders of two NSF-funded initiatives to enhance faculty development at MSU. The proposed program will sponsor approximately eight BIRCWH scholars over the life of the grant. Each scholar will each receive two to four years of support, with a fifth year available with the recommendation of the Advisory Committee. Scholars will have at least 75% protected time (50% for surgeons). The MSU BIRCWH program includes a core curriculum and a curriculum tailored to the stage of development of the scholar and emphasizing responsible conduct in research. Each scholar will work with a primary research mentor and a secondary mentor. Each of the mentors has a defined role to ensure an organized, interdisciplinary research experience. The mentored research training and the curriculum are designed to give scholars the skills to compete for external grant funding. The MSU BIRCWH program will support scholars at a time in their careers when they are at highest risk to leave research. The University and the participating Centers, colleges and programs are fully committed to the success of the BIRCWH program. The program will help ensure that promising junior researchers have the protected time, mentorship, and training to become successful women's health researchers.
This application will enhance women's health by increasing the number and diversity of researchers in the field. The Michigan State University BIRCWH provides protected time and a structured program to help junior researchers develop into highly productive scientists. The University is fully committed to the program and has promised matching funds to make it possible to train an additional scholar each year.
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