We propose to develop a new postdoctoral fellowship in Interdisciplinary Women's Reproductive Health (RHF) at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston (UTMB). The RHF training program will support 5 positions for 2-year fellowships that prepare MDs, clinical PhDs, and other postdoctoral scientists for research careers in the area of women's reproductive health. Appointees will be selected from a diverse, competitive candidate pool, with special emphasis on the recruitment of underrepresented minorities. The RHF training program will enrich the T32 portfolio at UTMB, becoming the first of its type dedicated to reproductive health in women. The RHF addresses the training needs of both healthcare professionals and research scientists by providing a structured but flexible research experience with an emphasis on fostering the early growth of an independent research career. Trainees are incorporated into the investigative programs of 3 board-certified fellowships in the Department of Obstetrics &Gynecology, a fellowship in women's health in the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health, and with individual projects of program faculty in Internal Medicine, Surgery, Preventive Medicine, and Biochemistry &Molecular Biology. Strong existing collaborative ties among the 16 mentors make this multidisciplinary approach possible. The mentors are well funded, heavily published, and have co-authored and co-mentored for many years.
The specific aims of the RHF training program are to: (1) increase the quality and quantity of researchers in women's reproductive health by actively recruiting promising postdoctoral fellows from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, including MDs, clinical PhDs, and basic science PhDs;(2) build upon and maintain a supportive infrastructure for women's reproductive health research at UTMB, including strong mentoring, comprehensive research training, and collaborative investigator/mentor networks;and (3) utilize the high-quality curriculum available at UTMB to (a) provide new investigators committed to a research career in women's reproductive health with an educational platform for productive interdisciplinary research and (b) engage them in productive, mentored, and progressively more independent research projects. Regular reviews of individual trainees will be completed by the training program directors to ensure that adequate progress toward the development of an independent research career is made.
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