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BUILDING INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH CAREERS IN WOMEN'S HEALTH

 

 
The Penn State BIRCWH program is supported by a K12 grant from the National Institutes of Health. The program began in 2007 and was renewed in 2012 for another 5 year period.  The grant provides funds for junior faculty BIRCWH Scholars to receive mentored research career development in interdisciplinary research on women’s health or on sex/gender differences related to biology, health, or disease.  Each 5-year grant cycle provides funds for 8 BIRCWH Scholars at the College of Medicine, College of Health and Human Development, and College of Liberal Arts for 2- 3- year training periods under the direction of senior faculty mentors from multiple disciplines.

The goal of the BIRCWH program is to increase the number and skills of investigators in women’s health through a mentored research and career development experience leading to an independent interdisciplinary scientific career that will benefit the health of women.The expanding research agenda in women’s health is informed by multiple scientific disciplines, including the biological, physical, and social sciences.

Research integrating knowledge from multiple perspectives is needed to advance the field of women’s health and to improve women’s health and health services. The interdisciplinary research conducted by BIRCWH scholars may be basic, translational, behavioral, clinical, and/or health services research relevant to women’s health or to sex/gender factors related to health.

 

Alison Gernand, PhD, Department of Nutritional Sciences, College of Health and Human Development, has been selected as the newest Penn State BIRCWH Scholar, beginning July 1, 2013.
 
Senior faculty mentors have been identified in four core research areas:
 
1. Precursors and Consequences of Obesity
 
2. Reproductive Health
 
3. Sex and Gender Issues in Health and Disease
 
4. Cancer Prevention, Screening and Treatment
 
BIRCWH scholars are required to identify a cross-campus mentor team consisting of at least three mentors in different disciplines.
 
BIRCWH scholars are required to devote 75% effort to mentored research career development during their 2-year appointments as BIRCWH scholars (or 50% effort for surgeons). The BIRCWH grant provides salary support plus fringe benefits to cover 75% of the Scholar's time up to a maximum of $100,000/year.  Any additional amount needed to cover the Scholar's salary/fringe must be shared by the Scholar's Department.  An additional $23,000 in direct costs annually is allotted to each Scholar for research and career development activities.  Funds for travel to the annual BIRCWH meeting and 1 scientific meeting per year are also available.
 
The Principal Investigator of the PSU-BIRCWH program is:
Carol S. Weisman, PhD
Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, College of Medicine
Distinguished Professor of Public Health Sciences, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Health Policy & Administration
cweisman@psu.edu
 

The Research Director is:
Cynthia Chuang, MD, MSc
Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health Sciences

Associate Director of Research, Division of General Internal Medicine
cchuang@hmc.psu.edu

 
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