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Grant Abstract

Grant Number: 5K12HD051958-07
PI Name: Pomeroy
Project Title: Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women's Health at UC Davis (BIRCH Training Grant)

Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Over the past 4 years, the UC Davis BIRCWH program has trained a cadre of diverse interdisciplinary researchers in women's health and raised the stature of women's health research at our university. We now propose to build on this strong foundation to create a next-generation BIRCWH program that will further increase the innovation and impact of this initiative. The goal of the UC Davis BIRCWH program is to create an academically stimulating and nurturing environment for women's health researchers that facilitates career development and encourages paradigm-shifting interdisciplinary collaboration and research approaches. We will build on the best practices of our well-received curriculum which combines: 1) mentored research and career development support, 2) core didactic courses, 3) supplemental didactic training tailored to the individual scholar's needs, and 4) special interdisciplinary BIRCWH experiences. The innovative aspects of our BIRCWH program include journal clubs and work-in progress meetings that are integrated with other training programs, monthly breakfast meetings with the VC/Dean for BIRCWH mentors and scholars to review progress, and a bi-annual symposium of northern California BIRCWH programs. New advances in this renewal include our proposed BIRCWH Mentoring Academy to optimize the mentoring experience for both mentors and scholars, and expansion of our faculty mentors to additional campus disciplines. Scholars will be supported to develop a unique research experience using our new matrix approach to women's health research, with four research focus areas (neurosciences/behavioral; musculoskeletal/aging; nutrition and metabolic/ inflammatory syndromes; and cancer), intersecting with cross-cutting themes (continuum across the lifespan, sex/gender determinants, health disparities/ differences and diversity, and interdisciplinary research), and embracing foundational approaches of prevention and treatment as well as the biological and behavioral bases of sex and gender differences. The guiding values of our BIRCWH program include collaboration and celebration of diversity, traditions at UC Davis reflecting the demographics of our community. A formal evaluation program will drive continuous improvement to ensure that we nimbly respond to new research directions and techniques and the needs of our scholars and the women we serve. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The UC Davis BIRCWH program will create a cadre of well-trained women's health researchers who have the skills and perspectives needed to address women's health research in new and innovative ways. Our scholars and mentors will define transformative interdisciplinary approaches to women's health research, allowing new insights into the lifelong continuum of sex and gender determinants of illness and wellness and reduction of health disparities.

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