Women face unacceptably high risks for disability and death in developing countries and there is urgent need for evidence-based interventions to reduce the burden of disease. By virtue of their training and clinical expertise, obstetrician-gynecologists (Ob-Gyns) are uniquely positioned to contribute to the global effort to improve the health of women. Yet, there are surprisingly few opportunities for young Ob-Gyns who seek to develop research careers in this growing field. One of the few existing programs is based at the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), where the faculty leading this application have directed a post-residency fellowship since 1999. Despite the academic success of the program's trainees - six past and present fellows have published nearly 130 articles and raised $195 million in grant funding over the last decade - the fellowship has been offered only sporadically. Without dedicated funding, the program has been heavily reliant on project-specific budgets and supplemental department resources, both of which have limited its scope. In this application, experienced research mentors from Zambia, Malawi, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) aim to build upon these past successes and establish the premier training program for global women's health. Like its predecessor, the new UNC Global Women's Health Fellowship will prioritize two years of dedicated research time abroad, where trainees will learn the professional and cultural nuances of international settings, ensure proper oversight of research activities, and foster the collaborations so critical to success in this field. With T32 program support, the program will be further enhanced by four key improvements: (1) Consistent program funding will allow us to institutionalize the current fellowship and provide a sustained training opportunity for Ob-Gyns pursuing academic careers in global women's health. (2) Trainees will complete degree requirements for a Master's of Science in Clinical Research, providing the necessary theoretical framework for later practical training. (3) The new fellowship program will leverage the vast global health expertise at the UNC School of Medicine and Gillings School of Global Public Health to expand the scope and depth of academic mentorship. (4) In addition to the established Ob-Gyn post-residency training in Lusaka, Zambia, the fellowship introduces UNC Project-Malawi (Lilongwe, Malawi) as a second training site for women's health research. Trainees will thus have access to two established, internationally renowned institutions where they can gain valuable field experience and mentored research training. A unified focus on trainee progress and program evaluation will ensure that the rigorous academic requirements of this fellowship are met. By the end of the three-year fellowship, graduates will obtain the necessary skills and experience to become independent investigators - and leaders - in the field of global women's health.

Public Health Relevance

There are currently few dedicated training programs for U.S. obstetrician-gynecologists seeking to develop careers in international public health and research. The UNC Global Women's Health Fellowship addresses this critical gap through a comprehensive three-year program that provides didactic training, overseas field experience, and intensive academic mentorship. Upon completion, trainees will have the necessary skills and expertise to become independent investigators and leaders in the field of global women's health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DRG-D (59))
Program Officer
Reddy, Uma M
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Obstetrics & Gynecology
Schools of Medicine
Chapel Hill
United States
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Ford, Catherine; Chibwesha, Carla J; Winston, Jennifer et al. (2017) Women's decision-making and uptake of services to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission in Zambia. AIDS Care :1-9
Kopp, Dawn M; Rosenberg, Nora E; Stuart, Gretchen S et al. (2017) Patterns of Contraceptive Adoption, Continuation, and Switching after Delivery among Malawian Women. PLoS One 12:e0170284
Kopp, Dawn M; Wilkinson, Jeffrey; Bengtson, Angela et al. (2017) Fertility outcomes following obstetric fistula repair: a prospective cohort study. Reprod Health 14:159
Kopp, D M; Bengtson, A M; Tang, J H et al. (2017) Use of a postoperative pad test to identify continence status in women after obstetric vesicovaginal fistula repair: a prospective cohort study. BJOG 124:966-972
Kopp, Dawn M; Tang, Jennifer H; Stuart, Gretchen S et al. (2017) Dual Method Use among Postpartum HIV-Infected and HIV-Uninfected Malawian Women: A Prospective Cohort Study. Infect Dis Obstet Gynecol 2017:1475813
Gallaher, Jared R; Mulima, Gift; Kopp, Dawn et al. (2017) Consequences of centralised blood bank policies in sub-Saharan Africa. Lancet Glob Health 5:e131-e132
Bengtson, Angela M; Kopp, Dawn; Tang, Jennifer H et al. (2016) Identifying Patients With Vesicovaginal Fistula at High Risk of Urinary Incontinence After Surgery. Obstet Gynecol 128:945-953
Price, Joan T; Wheeler, Stephanie B; Stranix-Chibanda, Lynda et al. (2016) Cost-Effectiveness of Pre-exposure HIV Prophylaxis During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding in Sub-Saharan Africa. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 72 Suppl 2:S145-53
Sih, A M; Kopp, D M; Tang, J H et al. (2016) Association between parity and fistula location in women with obstetric fistula: a multivariate regression analysis. BJOG 123:831-6
Chibwesha, Carla J; Frett, Brigitte; Katundu, Katundu et al. (2016) Clinical Performance Validation of 4 Point-of-Care Cervical Cancer Screening Tests in HIV-Infected Women in Zambia. J Low Genit Tract Dis 20:218-23

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