This application requests a 5-year renewal of the postdoctoral research training program in women's reproductive health at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). This renewal will continue to support 5 positions (2 MDs and 3 clinical or research PhDs) for trainees conducting research in 5 areas related to women's reproductive health: (1) Reproductive endocrinology &contraception;(2) Pregnancy-related conditions;(3) Cancer of the breast &reproductive organs (4) Sexually transmitted infections;and (5) Health disparities &Hispanic health. A total of (17) well-funded and highly published faculty from 4 different departments, who have co-authored and co-mentored for many years, will continue to collaborate to provide individualized training for trainees based on 10 educational objectives. Informal training is supplemented by formal coursework, a postdoctoral seminar series, career development seminars, and luncheons with institutional leaders. To administer this sophisticated program, the PI/PD will work with two assistant directors, a program coordinator, the head of the core on methodology and statistics, an executive committee and an advisory committee. Postdoctoral trainees will continue to be recruited through the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health (CIRWH), which is directed by the PI/PD, specifically for an appointment on this T32. A multi-component plan has been developed and successfully implemented to attract a diverse pool of highly competitive candidates. These efforts have resulted in an average of 15 applicants for each available position with 25% of those selected from underrepresented groups. All positions have been filled with several applicants now awaiting openings. This program fills a unique niche at UTMB as it is the first of its type to be dedicated to the reproductive health of women as well as the frst and only T32 in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Its success during the first cycle of funding is demonstrated by an increase in the quantity of women's health research conducted at UTMB and the strong level of institutional support pledged for the next 5 years. Overall, 12 fellows were supported during the first funding cycle, 6 with health professional degrees. In spite of the hardships imposed by Hurricane Ike, these trainees presented 32 abstracts at national meetings and published 27 articles in peer-reviewed journals. An additional 9 manuscripts are under review for a total of 36 manuscripts submitted or published. Five trainees have obtained entry level faculty appointments and all but one remain in academic positions. For the second cycle, the institution has generously agreed to commit 10% protected time for the PI, 50% of a Head for the Methodology and Statistics Core, 50% of a program coordinator and funds for each trainee to attend an additional meeting each year. We will use knowledge gained during the first 5 years and increased institutional support to further improve this program and anticipate even greater productivity during the next funding cycle.
Women experience a reproductive period of almost 40 years. Professional opinion has concluded that women's reproductive health includes a wide range of areas of concern, including cancer prevention and health disparities, as well as issues relating to contraception and pregnancy. This postdoctoral training program will produce new researchers, trained in interdisciplinary teams, whose investigations will improve the health of women during the reproductive period.
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