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Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH)

Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health

NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health Announces New Awards to Support Interdisciplinary Research Careers of Junior Faculty in Women’s Health

The National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) and other co-sponsors recently awarded almost $6 million to 14 new and continuing Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) programs nationwide. This is the sixth funding round of an innovative, interdisciplinary career development program for men and women in women’s health research.

The ORWH developed and established the BIRCWH program in 2000 to foster the research careers of junior faculty by providing them with the protected time to conduct their research and by pairing them with senior investigators in a mentored, interdisciplinary, scientific environment. The goal is to bridge scholars’ advanced training with independent research in areas that cut across scientific disciplines and fields in women’s health including basic, clinical and translational research. Since inception, ORWH has awarded 63 grants to 39 institutions and more than 488 junior faculty have been sponsored by the program, 80 percent of whom are women. The majority have gone on to obtain independent NIH research project grant funding. In FY 2012, 29 programs were active across the United States.

The awards are a trans-NIH collaborative effort. This sixth round of BIRCWH programs is supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Cancer Institute , the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute of Mental Health. In addition to ORWH, the programmatic oversight for these BIRCWH programs also resides in NIDA and the grants management oversight for most of the programs is in NICHD.

"During the past decade, interdisciplinary research is increasingly recognized to be critical for advancing the understanding of complex medical conditions that affect women. The BIRCWH initiative is now serving as a model of how to approach research and career development not only in women’s health research but also in other fields. The expansion of the BIRCWH initiative will ensure that the cadre of women’s health researchers who can translate interdisciplinary research findings is maintained serving to catalyze improvements in the health of women in the nation” said Janine Austin Clayton, M.D., director of ORWH.

"It is essential to support the next generation of researchers in women’s health," said Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., director of NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). "By providing for the career development of junior investigators, the BIRCWH awards help to assure that groundbreaking research and treatment advances continue in the future.”

FY 2012 Programs and Principal Investigators

Additional Information

For more information about ORWH Interdisciplinary Initiatives, contact Joan D. Nagel, M.D., M.P.H., Program Director, Interdisciplinary Research Programs; Director, BIRCWH Program; Coordinator, SCOR;

This page last reviewed on May 13, 2013

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