Government expands women's health research

October 1, 2000

Pharmaceutical Representative

In an effort to stimulate women's health research across a variety of disciplines, the National Institutes of Health announced that it will fund 11 awards to support development of new research in women's health. The program, Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health, seeks to increase the number of researchers working on women's health issues and to mentor junior researchers in an interdisciplinary scientific setting by pairing them with senior investigators.

In an effort to stimulate women's health research across a variety of disciplines, the National Institutes of Health announced that it will fund 11 awards to support development of new research in women's health. The program, Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health, seeks to increase the number of researchers working on women's health issues and to mentor junior researchers in an interdisciplinary scientific setting by pairing them with senior investigators.

The Office of Research on Women's Health at NIH leads the initiative, which will award a total of $5.5 million to 11 universities. In addition to the Office of Research on Women's Health, nine NIH Institutes and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will co-sponsor this program.

"The BIRCWH program offers a tremendous opportunity to advance women's health research," said Vivian Pinn, director of the Office of Research on Women's Health. "This program will encourage researchers from a variety of areas - basic, clinical, behavioral, health services and public health research - to approach a scientific question from different perspectives."

Junior faculty members, selected as Interdisciplinary Women's Health Research Scholars, will have the opportunity to augment their research skills in these interdisciplinary career development programs. Each will be matched with a seasoned senior investigator, who will mentor him or her for a period of two to five years.

Dr. Pinn added that the new initiative will allow the participating cosponsors to support interdisciplinary efforts that may not fit neatly into their research domains. For example, the National Institute of Aging is typically concerned with the phase of women's lives that follows menopause. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development tends to focus its research on the events prior to menopause. The new initiative, however, will support research spanning the phases before, during and after menopause and serve as a model for reducing fragmentation of women's health care.

"This initiative is a commitment to women's health research - training today the scientists of tomorrow," said Duane Alexander, director of the NICHD. "As a co-sponsor of the BIRCWH initiative, the NICHD will continue the important work of fostering career development in women's health." PR