This application is for the 3rd cycle of funding for the Colorado Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women?s Health Research (BIRCWH) K12 program, established in 2007. Over the past almost 10 years, we have had 14 Scholars in the program, 12 of whom have remained in academic medicine, 11 have received external funding (2 of the 3 not yet funded are more recent Scholars) and who collectively have produced over 90 publications (not including abstracts). For our proposed third cycle, learning from our experience in two prior cycles of BIRCWH, we propose several key program innovations: 1) Adding a proven research and career development curriculum to the program (replacing old curriculum) while ensuring that there is no disruption of Scholar research time. 2) Adding Precision Medicine as a focus area, thus providing a cutting edge, cross- cutting theme that will serve to interweave our foci together. 3) Scholars will write their first individual K award earlier in time (in the 8th-9th month of a BIRCWH Scholar?s appointment) than in prior years. In our pilot test of this approach, without any change in the selection process, current BIRCWH Scholars are obtaining individual external funding with increasing rates of success. 4) Continued use of SAC following completion of BIRCWH Scholar period (if an individual K is the next step or through writing the R) to provide ongoing guidance through the career development period while establishing independence. This has proven to be very successful in helping Scholars progress. 5) Working with Shanta Zimmer, MD, new Associate Dean for Diversity, to increase diversity of BIRCWH Scholars using the new UC-SOM plan and 6) Increased biostatistian availability to meet the complex statistical needs of the Scholars.
Our specific aims are to: Support 3 top applicants from a national pool of exceptionally motivated and talented individuals, and provide them with an appropriately tailored, top-quality interdisciplinary mentored research experience; Provide Scholars with outstanding mentors from within and without the departments of Medicine and Ob/Gyn, including expertise in Cardiology, Endocrinology, Epidemiology, Immunology, Integrative Physiology, Molecular Biology, Pediatrics, Precision Medicine and Psychiatry, among others, all of whom are senior scientists with strong track records of funding and training, and nurture interdisciplinary team scientists poised to address key research problems in women?s health and sex differences. Our Internal Program Advisory Committee will continue to evaluate program operations and progress; our External Program Advisory Committee which will provide an outsider?s overview of the BIRCWH to assure that we stay abreast of national trends in women?s health and sex difference research. The excellent institutional support for the Colorado BIRCWH, including the Center for Women?s Health Research and other groups that support BIRCWH, will also fuel the growth of this important program which aims to develop successful, independent interdisciplinary careers of scientists in women?s health and sex differences research and thereby improve the health of women.
The areas of women?s health and sex differences research have long had an inadequate cadre of investigators with top quality training sufficient to make them competitive for limited research funding dollars. By using interdisciplinary training and mentoring methods to develop the careers of the research leaders of tomorrow, we can address the most important, pressing questions in women's health and sex differences. By equipping these young researchers to find the answers, we have every expectation that this grant will lead to tangible improvements in women's health in the United States.
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