We propose a new WRHR Program at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology that will be directed by Michael Belfort MD, PhD, Chairman with Drs. Kjersti Aagaard, MD, PhD and Chandra Yallampalli, DVM, PhD as Research Co-Directors. Dr. Melissa Suter, PhD will serve as the Program Director. The program's mission is to develop and enhance the academic career of OB/GYN investigators pursuing translational and clinical research while being mentored by experienced reproductive research scientists. The scholars will be able to choose one of 29 dedicated faculty mentors to engage in one of 12 thematic research areas. We have a team of biostatisticians who have pledged to support our scholars with their data analysis needs. The WRHR scholars will not only be engaged in research and career development activities as outlined in the proposal, they will also be trained to be mentors themselves through our National Research Mentoring Network courses and engaging in our programs for enhancing diversity and inclusion in the next generation of scientists. With state-of-the-art core resources, a strong team of mentors covering the breadth and depth of women's health research topics, and support from a strong Internal Advisory Committee, the BCM-TCH WRHR program is ideally poised to achieve this mission. With a highly competitive residency program, and 6 OB/GYN-related fellowship programs, we have a strong internal pool of potential future candidates from which we can recruit highly qualified and promising scholars. Our 29 faculty research mentors, as well as our team of experienced biostatisticians, are a collaborative group of basic & translational scientists. Because of our reputation of rapid expansion and innovation, we are regularly contacted by young colleagues who want to join the department to become academic physician scientists. Furthermore, we will recruit scholar candidates at our various professional societies' national meetings. All applications to the program will be reviewed and selected by the Advisory Committees using defined criteria. Each accepted scholar will have an educational plan that includes development of laboratory investigative expertise, required courses/seminars, and elective courses, and career development activities with a dedicated career advisor. Scheduled evaluations will assure benchmarks that include: 1) initial needs assessment and mentoring plan, 2) peer reviewed abstracts and publications, 3) submission of individual funding applications with the goal of eventual independence and subsequent R01- level funding. Highly ranked in NIH funding, BCM is well positioned to train WRHR Scholars in research, advance their academic careers and prepare them for future leadership.
We propose an innovative training program in basic and translational Women's Reproductive Health Research for Obstetrics and Gynecology-trained MD and MD/PhD-physician scientists in an exceptional research environment. The program's mission is to offer rigorous basic and translational laboratory research training coupled to structured career mentoring to junior faculty members of the Baylor College of Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The ultimate goal is to prepare the future academic research leaders in Obstetrics and Gynecology who are prepared to ask and comprehensively address the most important research questions that when answered can ultimately improve women's health.