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Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH)

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) women’s health and sex/gender-based research career development program, Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH), is an NIH-funded, K12 training grant to mentor scientists in women’s health and sex/gender-based health research. The UIC BIRCWH program trains a diverse group of junior faculty scholars, and postdoctoral fellows, to become independent women’s health or sex/gender-based research investigators. The program consists of a core and tailored curriculum, research training, mentoring (by a team of two or more senior women’s health or sex/gender-based health researchers), individualized career planning, and research projects.

Our Goals Heading link

The overall goal of the UIC BIRCWH Program is to align with the 2019-23 Trans-NIH Strategic Plan for Women’s Health Research to “promote training and careers to develop a well-trained, diverse, and robust workforce to advance science for the health of women” (NIH ORWH, 2019). Through evidence-based mentoring practices, innovative training strategies, and strong internal and external multidisciplinary collaborations, the UIC BIRCWH improves recruitment, retention, and advancement of women and URMs as scientists and academic leaders in interdisciplinary women’s health and sex/gender differences research.

Our long-term objective is to promote training and career development of a new generation of researchers equipped with the knowledge and career skills necessary to advance science for the health of women in the next decade and beyond. We are based in the UI College of Medicine, but draw on the interdisciplinary strengths of UIC’s seven health colleges.

Our Scholars Heading link

Initially funded in 2007, the UIC BIRCWH program has fostered the academic careers of 25 faculty Scholars and one postdoctoral Trainee, including 35% under-represented minorities (URM). The companion program Women’s Health Research (WHR) Associates Program has supported 11 Associates (38% URM).

BIRCWH Scholar Application Heading link

Women’s Health Research Scholars Program Heading link