The overall objective of the Georgia Regents University (GRU) Women's Reproductive Health Research (WRHR) proposed career development program is to develop independent OB/GYN physician-researchers in basic, translational and/or clinical areas related to women's reproductive health. Institutional commitment to do so is extremely strong at GRU. There exists a robust research and training environment for each type of investigation. Scholars will be appointed, based on recommendations of an Advisory Committee, from a pool of candidates (local and national) who have demonstrated interest and prior experience in research. Members of underrepresented groups will be recruited proactively, in part through direct collaboration with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Morehouse School of Medicine, a historical minority-serving institution. Training of Scholars will be individualized based on their past experiences and competences. Two individuals will be enrolled at any one time, with the expectation that a total of four Scholars will be trained during the five year funding period. The proposed PI and Research Director are well experienced in research, training and administration, and will be complemented by a Recruitment Director and a Program Evaluation Director. Mentors will be experienced investigators with training track records who have research programs that are broadly relevant to women's reproductive health. These investigators will be complemented by a wide range of contemporary, sophisticated clinical and research resources. There will be six training aims:1) Prepare each Scholar for a career as a physician-scientist by providing customized didactic training and seminars; 2) Support the professional skill development of each individual Scholar, with the goal of helping him/her work more efficiently, such that they can maintain appropriate work-life balance, thereby improving overall satisfaction and success in their careers; 3) Provide each Scholar with a dynamic mentored research experience, relevant to his/her long-term research interests; 4) Train each Scholar in the art of grantsmanship; 5) Arrange networking opportunities (virtual and actual) for each Scholar, so that they become integrated within the women's health research community, connected with established investigators who can serve as prospective role models, career coaches, and/or collaborators; and 6) Educate each Scholar in the responsible conduct of research. Annual evaluation of the program will include objective analysis of both process and outcome of the Scholars, and the Program. Advisory Committee members will provide oversight and also assess programmatic effectiveness. Scholars will complete their training when they have demonstrably reached research independence, objectively measured by such criteria as ability to compete successfully for independent grant support. Scholars will be tracked after leaving the program. Overall, the training is expected to contribute substantively to expand the nation's capacity for future conduct of women's health research.
The proposed training is relevant to public health because opportunities for, and support of, career development of Obstetrician Gynecologists is essential for reduction of morbidity and mortality of women throughout their life cycle. Georgia Regents University, in partnership with Morehouse School of Medicine, provides unique WRHR Scholar pools, infrastructure, resources, and mentors that will make it a strong contributor to the next generation of clinical and translational researchers for women's reproductive health and, thereby, to the positive clinical outcomes of the ethnically and racially diverse women we serve.