News Release

Friday, October 9, 2009

NIH Awards Grants to Examine Factors Influencing Women's Careers in Science

The National Institutes of Health announced today that it will fund 14 grants focusing on factors that influence the careers of women in biomedical and behavioral science and engineering. The grants are estimated to total $16.8 million over four years.

The grants respond to a 2007 National Academies report that urgently called for a broad, national effort to maximize the potential of women scientists and engineers. The report, Beyond Bias and Barriers, led to the creation of an NIH working group charged with examining the issues and addressing the challenges in supporting the advancement of women scientists and engineers.

"The National Institutes of Health is committed to building a diverse biomedical workforce," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "Our ability to train and retain women scientists is vital to our remaining competitive in meeting today’s health challenges."

The new grants will examine many influences on women's career choices such as family and economic factors, institutional environments and broader social and cultural issues. Topics include the role mentoring and funding support play throughout women’s academic careers to the impact of family-friendly policies in retaining women in the scientific workforce. The career paths of underrepresented and financially disadvantaged women will also be examined.

"Understanding the issues that impact the recruitment, retention, reentry and advancement of women in biomedical and behavioral science careers will help us develop strategies to assist women at critical points," said Dr. Vivian Pinn, director of the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health and co-chair of the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers.

The NIH components funding the awards include the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; the National Cancer Institute; the National Center for Research Resources; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institute on Aging; the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; the National Institute of General Medical Sciences; the National Institute of Mental Health; the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; the National Institute of Nursing Research; the NIH Office of AIDS Research; the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research and the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health.

The grant recipients are:

  • Stephanie B. Abbuhl and Jeane Ann Grisso, University of Pennsylvania, "Women & Academic Medicine: A Randomized Multi-level Trial"
  • Mary Carnes, University of Wisconsin-Madison, "Advancement of Women in STEMM: A Multi-level Research and Action Project"
  • Thomas Diprete, Columbia University, "Educational Pathways to Science and Other Careers for Academically Talented Women"
  • Karen Fruend and Phyllis Carr, Boston University Medical Campus, "Longitudinal Follow-up to the National Faculty Survey"
  • Donna K. Ginther and Shulamit Kahn, University of Kansas, "Economic Explanations for Gender Differences in Biomedical Careers"
  • Deborah L. Helitzer, University of New Mexico, "Achieving a Critical Mass of Women Biomedical Faculty: Impact of 3 US Programs"
  • Reshma Jagsi, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, "Examining How Gender Differences in Outcomes Develop Among Physician Researchers"
  • Yael M. Levitte, Jennifer L. Glass and Sharon L. Sassler, Cornell University, "Entry and Retention of Women in the Sciences: A Cohort Comparison"
  • Richard McGee, Northwestern University, "Pivotal Career Decisions Guiding Potential Women Science Faculty"
  • Donna Nelson, University of Oklahoma, "Building an Evidence Base for Developing Effective Intervention Strategies for Women"
  • Joan Reede and Emorcia V. Hill, Harvard Medical School, "Factors that Promote and Support Careers of Women of Color in Academic Medicine"
  • Virginia Valian, Hunter College, "Gatekeepers and Gender Schemas"
  • Amparo Villablanca and Lydia P. Howell, University of California, Davis, "Women's Careers in the Medical Sciences and Family Friendly Policies"
  • Wendy Williams, Cornell University, "Assessing and Reducing Gender Bias in STEM Recruitment, Mentorship and Evaluation"

For more information on the Women in Biomedical Careers initiative at NIH, see

To speak to an NIH official about the new grants, contact the NIGMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison at 301-496-7301 or

NCI leads the National Cancer Program and the NIH effort to dramatically reduce the burden of cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families, through research into prevention and cancer biology, the development of new interventions, and the training and mentoring of new researchers. For more information about cancer, please visit the NCI Web site at or call NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

The National Center for Research Resources provides laboratory scientists and clinical researchers with the resources and training they need to understand, detect, treat and prevent a wide range of diseases. NCRR supports all aspects of translational and clinical research, connecting researchers, patients and communities across the nation. For more information, visit

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans, conducts, and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. The Institute also administers national health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available online at

The NIA leads the federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the medical, social and behavioral issues of older people. For more information on research and aging, go to

NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at

NIBIB, is dedicated to improving health by bridging the physical and biological sciences to develop and apply new biomedical technologies.

The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute’s Web site at

The mission of the NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery and cure. For more information, visit

NINDS ( is the nation's primary supporter of biomedical research on the brain and nervous system.

NINR supports basic and clinical research that develops the knowledge to build the scientific foundation for clinical practice, prevent disease and disability, manage and eliminate symptoms caused by illness, and enhance end-of-life and palliative care. For more information about NINR, visit the Web site

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 AIDS Research (OAR), part of the Office of the Director, has responsibility to plan, coordinate, budget and evaluate all NIH AIDS-related research and training, which is conducted or supported by all of the NIH Institutes and Centers. This research includes basic and clinical biomedical and behavioral research on HIV and its associated co-infections, co-morbidities, malignancies, and complications. Information about the OAR can be found at

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) opened officially on July 1, 1995. The U.S. Congress established the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) in the Office of the Director, NIH, in recognition of the key role that behavioral and social factors often play in illness and health. The OBSSR mission is to stimulate behavioral and social sciences research throughout NIH and to integrate these areas of research more fully into others of the NIH health research enterprise, thereby improving our understanding, treatment, and prevention of disease. For more information, please visit

The ORWH ( was established to serve as the focal point in the Office of the Director for women’s health research at the NIH. ORWH's mission is to strengthen and enhance women's health research and sex/gender studies, ensure that women are appropriately represented in biomedical and biobehavioral research studies supported by NIH, and develop opportunities for the advancement of women in biomedical careers and to support career development for women and men in women's health research.

NIGMS supports basic research to increase our understanding of life processes and lay the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. For more information on the Institute's research and training programs, see

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

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®


This release has been updated to include the names of co-PIs. These names were not on the initial paylist. The bulleted names have been updated to include other PIs associated with the project: Abbuhl, Fruend, Ginther, Levitte, Reede, and Villablanca.