The annual meeting of the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) program was held on December 11, 2019, on the NIH main campus. Keynote speaker Judith Regensteiner, Ph.D., delivered the Ruth L. Kirschstein Memorial Lecture, titled “Strategic Career Development: Charting the Course.” In her speech, Dr. Regensteiner gave advice to the junior BIRCWH investigators: “Take a strategic approach to an academic career. … Develop your mission and vision. Don’t be afraid to be bold. Focus on getting good mentorship. … And get training where you can.”
The meeting also featured a panel discussion, titled “Next-Generation Data and the Future of Women’s Health." The panel explored new applications and innovations in data processing and their implications for research and clinical practice, including sex differences in precision medicine, the windows of opportunity for adding new data applications to women’s health research, and the importance of utilizing clinical data with emerging high-throughput data. The panel then discussed the unique challenges of mentoring young investigators in this area, as well as the importance of research ethics, health equity, and new research resources through such institutes as the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).
The annual BIRCWH Meeting provides a forum for young investigators, their mentors, and other research scientists to share their research in podium presentations and poster sessions. This year, presentation topics included sex differences associated with asthma and testosterone, differences in body composition and cardiometabolic health between transgender and cisgender youths, and sex differences in inflammatory response to acute psychological stress and risk of major adverse cardiovascular events.