BIRCWH

The Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH)supports research career development of junior faculty members who have recently completed clinical training or postdoctoral fellowships, and who are commencing basic, translational, clinical, and/or health services research relevant to women’s health.

Boston University Medical Center receives funding from the Office of Women’s Health Research, NIH through their Mentored Research Scientist Development Program Award (K12) for the BU BIRCWH Research Scholars Program.

Mission

The long-term goals of the BU Research Scholars Program are to mentor an selected cadre of outstanding scholars and to provide them with the support and training necessary for them to develop independent research careers in women’s health.

There is a demonstrated need to expand research in women’s health, and to increase the number of skilled researchers in women’s health and gender-based medicine. The Boston University Research Scholars Program recruits, selects and trains junior faculty in conducting health services research, clinical research and clinical epidemiology studies on women’s health issues. The training and research topics focus on addressing the needs of underserved, minority and elderly women including:

• Prevention research, with focus on behavioral, cultural and health service delivery influences on risk and lifestyle change, in addressing the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.

• Health services outcomes and effectiveness, especially investigating outcomes in ethnic and racial minority communities.

• Addiction medicine, with particular focus on adverse outcomes of alcoholism, and interactions of gender, violence and HIV.

• Issues of aging women, including the prevention of functional decline, diabetes and cardiovascular disease management, and cancer outcomes.

• Consequences of multiple caregiver roles, especially in the chronic care of women with disabilities, elders, and those with Alzheimer’s disease.

Eligible scholar applicants interested in developing a career as a clinician investigator must hold a doctoral degree in a clinical discipline such as medicine, dentistry, rehabilitation medicine or psychology. The program includes two levels of research scholars. The first level are Basic Clinical Scholars who have completed their clinical training but who have not had formal research training. This level of Scholar will complete a master’s degree as part of their research training within the Scholar program, and will require time to develop an independent research program and extramural funding. The second level are Advanced Clinical Scholars, who will have already completed master’s level research training, and will utilize the program to refine their research skills, develop an independent program of research, and obtain independent extramural funding. Basic Clinical Scholars will on average receive funding for 2 – 3 years; Advanced Clinical Scholars will on average receive funding for 1 – 2 years.

The Program has 5 key components to the structured training curriculum that will be tailored to meet each Scholar’s training needs:

1. Mentoring. Scholars will have guidance provided by a strong mentoring system that will address research as well as career development. This will be overseen by the Program Director, with input from the Principal Investigator and the Advisory Board.

2. Formal research training. For Scholars who have completed their clinical training but have no formal research training, they will be enrolled in the MSc degree program in Epidemiology, or the new MSc degree program in Health Services Research in order to gain skills in research methodology.

3. Interdisciplinary research seminars. All Scholars will participate in a series of required seminars. These include the interdisciplinary CREST program in clinical research training, the BIRCWH interdisciplinary research seminars, and the Boston University Medical Center course on the responsible conduct of research. Scholars will also have the opportunity to participate in a number of other seminar and training opportunities, including the Center of Excellence in Geriatrics and the Boston University Research Data Assistance Center (ResDAC) training program in the use of Medicare and Medicaid administrative datasets.

4. Mentored research project. All Scholars will complete a mentored research project, utilizing the Core Resource Laboratory for technical assistance in the planning, conduct, and analysis of their data.

5. Grant proposal development. All Scholars will receive mentoring and guidance in the preparation of their first grant applications, as it is an expectation that all Scholars will have independent funding by the end of their tenure in the program.