Kentucky BIRCWH Program: Training the Next Generation of Women's Health Scholars

Grants and Contracts Details


The University of Kentucky’s (UK) BIRCWH program is built around three pillars: mentoring, interdisciplinary research, and career development. Given the significant health challenges in Kentucky, we focus on three areas of important health disparity for Appalachian Kentuckians: 1) substance use, 2) violence against women, and 3) lifespan changes in health with aging. UK BIRCWH objectives are: 1) to provide the environment, mentorship, and facilities to enhance the ability of BIRCWH scholars to compete for NIH research grants in diverse areas of women’s health research, 2) to deepen our understanding of the unique role of sex and gender in the manifestation of health and disease, 3) to develop and implement new communication and social networking technologies to address sex and gender differences and improve women’s health, 4) to personalize prevention, diagnostics, and therapeutics to address health disparities, 5) to stimulate new collaborations in focused, interdisciplinary, and interactive research areas that are essential for uncovering sex and gender differences and improving women’s health; and 6) to use a thematic multidisciplinary focus as a platform for enhancing translational research between basic, clinical and public health scientists. Our formal framework for ‘growing the next generation’ of women’s health and sex differences researchers includes a mentoring team for each Scholar composed of: 1) experienced faculty members (Mentors) and 2) a former BIRCWH scholar (Coach). This mentoring team will collectively provide in-depth research experiences and didactic training to assistant professor, tenure-track faculty. Career development will also include mechanisms for accountability for manuscript submissions, workshops on grant development, and aspects of academic development such as personnel management, negotiation skills, self-care, and promotion. UK BIRCWH Scholar appointments will be 2 years for PhD and 3 years for MD scholars. Based on our prior experience, we anticipate training 8 scholars over 5 years of funding. Outcomes: Since 2000, 40 Scholars have completed BIRCWH training (17 MDs, 23 PhDs), who have produced 1,712 peer-reviewed publications, secured $41,636,782 in NIH funding as PI, and $239,982,415 as Co-I or PI from other external sources. UK has retained 57% of our BIRCWH graduates who continue active research programs, and support BIRCWH as Coaches and Mentors. Given this success, why should UK’s BIRCWH funding continue? Succinctly, Kentucky’s need continues. Our rates of substance use, violence, and chronic disease (3 foci) are among this nation’s highest. With BIRCWH funding, we can support those who will address the health inequities Kentuckians and others across the nation still face.
Effective start/end date8/1/227/31/23


  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: $936,494.00


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