Advances in women's health globally have been impeded by female poverty, limited access to education and economic opportunities, gender bias and discrimination, unjust laws, and insufficient state accountability. These forces intersect to restrict access to vital women's health services and to the information women need to better their own lives. Investing in women's health and empowerment produces surplus benefits for their children, families, communities and nations. The Women's Health and Empowerment Center of Expertise (COE), part of the newly established University of California Global Health Institute (UCGHl), seeks to integrate health and empowerment sciences to comprehensively address the causes and consequences of gender and health disparities, as well as seek to empower women globally to advocate for and achieve the highest attainable standard of health. Our COE focuses on training leaders and practitioners of women's health and empowerment, conducting innovative, interdisciplinary research, and building strong partnerships to improve the health of women and their families in California and around the world. The overall goal of this program is to provide exceptional post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty from the health (e.g. medicine, nursing, public health) and empowerment sciences (e.g. law, business, women's studies, anthropology, sociology) an intensive one-year, interdisciplinary, hands-on, mentored research experience at the intersection of women's health and empowerment. This program will become the flagship post-doctoral fellowship program for the Women's Health and Empowerment COE. Dependent on future funding opportunities, we intend to continue these programs to develop the next generation of academic leaders in the field, and expand it to include other UC campuses and global partners engaged in the Women's Health and Empowerment research.
The excess health burden for women derives from unequal gender power relations, socioeconomic disparities, and behavioral risk factors. New strategies are needed to bring these tools to women and communities, building upon past progress and providing new opportunities in training, research and policy. This program will train the next generation of women's health and empowerment researchers to conduct rigorous interdisciplinary research aimed to advance the lives of women and their families around the world.
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