The goal of the Penn State BIRCWH Program is to contribute to the advancement of scholarship in the field of women's health across the lifespan, including understanding sex/gender differences relevant to health, by providing mentored research career development for Scholars from multiple disciplines who are committed to collaboration across disciplinary boundaries and to translational science. The specific objectives are: (1) to recruit 8 talented junior faculty investigators during the 5-year renewal period, half f whom will be clinicians and half of whom will be basic scientists;(2) to provide intensive interdisciplinary mentored research career development for a minimum of 2 years, with a career development plan including mentorship by an interdisciplinary team of senior researchers, individualized training plans, and a monthly BIRCWH Seminar series;and (3) to evaluate the progress of each BIRCWH Scholar and the success of the program using explicit milestones for the Scholars as well as national data. During its first 5 years, the Penn State BIRCWH Program established a successful cross-campus interdisciplinary mentoring model involving Scholars and Mentors from three colleges (Medicine, Health and Human Development, and Liberal Arts) located on two campuses (medical campus and main campus). Mentors are senior investigators in the core research areas of: Precursors/Consequences of Obesity;Reproductive Health;Cancer Prevention and Patterns of Care;and Sex and Gender Issues in Health and Disease. The BIRCWH Program is overseen by an Advisory Committee including 11 senior administrators and faculty members from the three participating colleges. The 8 BIRCWH Scholars funded during the Program's first 5 years represented the fields of general internal medicine, endocrinology, infectious disease, kinesiology, physiology, psychology, and sociology/demography, and were recruited from a large, diverse applicant pool. The notable achievements of these Scholars, to date, include: 34 peer-reviewed publications based on their BIRCWH research (an average of 2.4 publications per Scholar per year);8 internal grants funded;6 NIH grants submitted as Principal Investigator;3 grants submitted to other external agencies;3 external grants funded as Principal Investigator (including 2 NIH grants);and several honors and awards (including a New Investigator Award from the North American Menopause Society and appointment as a consultant to the USDA). The Penn State BIRCWH Program has had substantial institutional impact, including providing the cross-campus mentoring model for the newly funded Penn State CTSA and raising awareness of important career development issues for junior women faculty members.
the Penn State BIRCWH Program will provide mentored research career development to 8 additional junior faculty BIRCWH Scholars recruited from the College of Medicine, College of Health and Human Development, and College of Liberal Arts. The program uses a unique cross-campus interdisciplinary mentoring model to provide this training and to advance the science of women's health and of sex/gender differences related to health.
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