Women living in the developing world face an unacceptably high risk of disability and death, often from preventable causes. Obstetrician-gynecologists (Ob-Gyns) are needed to reduce this disease burden worldwide, but there are few established pathways to prepare investigators in global women?s health research. To address this gap, we launched the UNC Global Women?s Health Fellowship in 2012. Our program is research-focused, with the explicit goal of training the next generation of independent NIH investigators. We offer an immersive training experience, through which fellows typically spend two years overseas, working at established international research sites. Our trainees are intensively mentored by an experienced and highly accomplished faculty representing diverse disciplines and backgrounds. Fellows take part in structured enrichment activities to guide their scientific and professional development, including graduate-level coursework, conferences and seminars, and professional networking. To date, our program has supported 13 postdoctoral trainees, including eight appointed to our current T32 award. UNC Global Women?s Health fellows have implemented cutting-edge research and published policy-relevant papers; most have transitioned to academic positions after graduation. Importantly, all have learned how to design and implement studies in developing world settings. In this renewal application, we request another five years of support for our fellowship. Building upon the foundation of our current program, we propose several key improvements. These changes have been informed by a systematic evaluation of the fellowship, including structured feedback from mentors, trainees, and advisors. First, we will reorganize our fellowship curriculum so that each new trainee chooses one of three distinct research tracks (pregnancy outcomes, reproductive health, women?s cancers) and one of three methodological concentrations (clinical trials, epidemiology, implementation science). This framework will permit a more individualized approach to assigned coursework, mentor pairing, and research projects, so that fellows gain deeper topical and methodologic expertise as they complete the program. Second, we will expand our program eligibility by introducing novel combined fellowships with the established Ob-Gyn subspecialties of maternal fetal medicine, family planning, and gynecologic oncology. Third, we will extend our geographic coverage beyond our current sites in Zambia (Lusaka) and Malawi (Lilongwe) to offer training placements in South Africa (Johannesburg). By the end of the fellowship, graduates will obtain the necessary skills and experience to become independently-funded NIH investigators in the field of global women?s health.

Public Health Relevance

Despite a significant burden of disease, few research training programs focus on the urgent health priorities critical to women worldwide. The UNC Global Women?s Health Fellowship addresses this gap through a comprehensive two-year program that provides didactic training, overseas field experience, and intensive academic mentorship. Trainees gain 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)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1)
Program Officer
Koso-Thomas, Marion
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Obstetrics & Gynecology
Schools of Medicine
Chapel Hill
United States
Zip Code
Kopp, D M; Tang, J H; Bengtson, A M et al. (2018) Continence, quality of life, and depression following surgical repair of obstetric vesicovaginal fistula: a cohort study. BJOG :
Chi, Benjamin H; Mutale, Wilbroad; Winston, Jennifer et al. (2018) Infant Human Immunodeficiency Virus-free Survival in the Era of Universal Antiretroviral Therapy for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women: A Community-based Cohort Study From Rural Zambia. Pediatr Infect Dis J 37:1137-1141
Price, Joan T; Rosenberg, Nora E; Vansia, Dhrutika et al. (2018) Predictors of HIV, HIV Risk Perception, and HIV Worry Among Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Lilongwe, Malawi. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 77:53-63
Price, Joan T; Mollan, Katie R; Fuseini, Nurain M et al. (2018) Vaginal progesterone to reduce preterm birth among HIV-infected pregnant women in Zambia: a feasibility study protocol. Pilot Feasibility Stud 4:21
Ford, Catherine; Chibwesha, Carla J; Winston, Jennifer et al. (2018) Women's decision-making and uptake of services to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission in Zambia. AIDS Care 30:426-434
Castillo, Marcela C; Vwalika, Bellington; Stoner, Marie C D et al. (2018) Risk of stillbirth among Zambian women with a prior cesarean delivery. Int J Gynaecol Obstet 143:360-366
Oberlin, Austin M; Rahangdale, Lisa; Chinula, Lameck et al. (2018) Making HPV vaccination available to girls everywhere. Int J Gynaecol Obstet 143:267-276
Bula, Agatha; Kopp, Dawn M; Maman, Suzanne et al. (2018) Family planning knowledge, experiences and reproductive desires among women who had experienced a poor obstetric outcome in Lilongwe Malawi: a qualitative study. Contracept Reprod Med 3:22
Kopp, Dawn M; Bula, Agatha; Maman, Suzanne et al. (2018) Influences on birth spacing intentions and desired interventions among women who have experienced a poor obstetric outcome in Lilongwe Malawi: a qualitative study. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 18:197
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

Showing the most recent 10 out of 24 publications