News Release

Monday, September 24, 2007

NIH Announces New BIRCWH Awards to Promote Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) and other co-sponsors announce the award of more than $7 million to 15 new and continuing Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) programs nationwide. This expands an innovative effort to foster career development in women's health research with an emphasis on innovative interdisciplinary mentoring across a variety of disciplines.

The first BIRCWH Centers were established in the fall of 2000 and the latest awards are in response to the fourth solicitation. BIRCWH was developed to promote the career development of independent researchers working on women's health issues by pairing scholars with senior investigators in a mentored, interdisciplinary scientific environment.

"We are proud that the BIRCWH programs offer supportive opportunities for career development for women and men in interdisciplinary women's health research through strong mentoring by established scientists with diverse and broad expertise," said Vivian W. Pinn, M.D., Director of ORWH.

Institutions receiving FY 2007 BIRCWH awards include:

Karen Freund, M.D., Boston University
R. Sanders Williams, M.D., Duke University
Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina
J. Larry Jameson, M.D., Ph.D., Northwestern University
Lesley Hallick, Ph.D., Oregon Health & Science University
Carol Weisman, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
Lee Hamm, M.D., Tulane University
Lorna Moore, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Denver and Health Sciences Center
Stacie Geller, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Chicago
Patricia Langenberg, Ph.D., University of Maryland
Anne Taylor, M.D., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
James Roberts, M.D., University of Pittsburgh
Madison Gloria Sarto, M.D., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin
Nancy Brown, M.D., Vanderbilt University
Jerome Strauss, M.D., Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University

The BIRCWH program fosters the career development of junior faculty members who are engaging in basic, clinical, translational, behavioral, or health services research in any area relevant to women's health with an emphasis on sex and gender factors. BIRCWH Programs accomplish this goal by mentoring junior faculty to bridge advanced training with independent research in areas that integrate scientific disciplines.

To date, almost 300 scholars have been mentored and have learned research techniques and skills to become independent investigators and mentors themselves. The mentors at each site are investigators committed to fostering interdisciplinary approaches to research in women's health and sex/gender factors. This program develops a cadre of independently funded scientists who can further advance and perpetuate an interdisciplinary team approach to science and sex/gender specific health care principles.

"The BIRCWH awards promote the professional growth and development of junior investigators," said Duane Alexander, M.D., director of NIH’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. "This helps to ensure that qualified women's health researchers will be available tomorrow to build upon the research advances of today."

The ORWH leads the BIRCWH initiative, which is administered by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and co-sponsored by the following NIH Institutes and Offices, as well as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and the National Institute of Mental Health.

The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available at

The Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH), Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH) serves as a focal point for women's health research at the NIH. For more information about NIH’s Office of Research on Women's Health, visit

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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