In the past decade, the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) has stimulated novel interdisciplinary research through funding initiatives such as the BIRCWH program. The goal of this initiative is to increase the number and skills of investigators through a mentored research and career development experience leading to an independent interdisciplinary scientific career that will benefit the health of women. Interdisciplinary research could provide an opportunity for not just medical specialties but also researchers in dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, biotechnology, social sciences, anthropology, genetics, and other disciplines, representing different perspectives and areas of expertise, to work together in a mutually beneficial collaboration to advance women's health.
The Emory BIRCWH Program
The overarching goal of the Emory BIRCWH Program is to leverage the rich research infrastructure and the interdisciplinary collaborative research environment at Emory University to enhance the quality of women’s health researchers in order to advance women’s health research, improve sex/gender science, and ultimately promote health and well being among women. These goals will be operationalized through identification and promotion of career development of a diverse group of junior faculty, facilitating their rapid advancement into independence with the requisite skill set to pursue successful scientific careers in women’s health research.
During the first cycle of the Emory BIRCWH Program emphasis will be placed on (but not limited to) mentored research in the field of communicable disease (HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, influenza, HCV/HBV, bacterial and fungal diseases, antimicrobial resistance, etc.). The focus in this area highlights the global burden of these conditions particularly among women of ethnic minorities, and aligns with the agenda of the NIH OWHR. Similarly, a focus on communicable disease capitalizes on Emory’s strengths in basic, translational, and social aspects of infectious diseases research, anti-infective drug development, and basic immunology and vaccinology while leveraging ongoing collaborations with the CDC, Morehouse, and Georgia Tech.
Faculty mentors with expertise in broad areas of communicable disease have been strategically assembled for this program, including: transmission, prevention, basic pathology and pathogenesis, end-organ complications (cardiac, endocrine, pulmonary, etc), disease management, therapeutics, pharmacology, microbiology, immunology, and vaccinology. Research training in communicable disease will include social determinants of disease outcomes, economic determinants of disease burden, barriers to access and impediment to engagement in care, maternal health and child outcomes, global health, health disparities, and community-based interventions.
Scholars accepted into the BIRCWH Program will receive salary support to enable them to spend at least 75% of their professional time on research training and a $25,000 technical budget for research-related expenses and tuition for the Master of Science in Clinical Research MSCR degree or other relevant training. The maximum salary support is $100,000 per year plus fringe benefits. Support in the program will be provided for up to two years and will be based on performance in the program. Salary support for the lead mentor is not allowed by NIH.
Each scholar accepted into the program must submit a mandatory Career Development NIH K Award (e.g. K23, K01, K08) or equivalent grant application by the end of their first 12 months of the BIRCWH funding.