Program Components

To achieve the goals of the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) Scholar Program, our plan is structured around three components:

  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Mentoring and career development
  • Collaborations and networking

Interdisciplinary research

Aim: Recruit a diverse group of early-stage investigators with an outstanding potential to lead interdisciplinary research teams in women's health.

Leading interdisciplinary research teams requires a unique set of visionary, operational and managerial skills that bring together and reach across multiple disciplines. In addition, diversity in scientific disciplines, cultural background, gender and management styles is important to conduct state-of-the-art science to improve women's health. Selection of the best and diverse cohort of candidates and mentors is crucial for the success of our program. Guidance from an experienced BIRCWH Executive Advisory Committee assures that candidates strengthen and expand their research programs and set up their research for future success.

Scholars are expected to:

  • Prepare and submit two to three first author (or senior author) journal articles
  • Submit a National Institutes of Health (NIH) R-series, individual K-series or an equivalent grant application by the end of year 2

Mentoring and career development

Aim: Provide both structured and tailored educational experiences based on career development needs that include didactic programs and a mentored research experience in an interdisciplinary environment.

Because of the diversity of needs and experience levels of our scholars, training is individualized for each scholar. Experiences may include didactic class work and writing workshops, but additional training is provided in areas of executive presence, negotiation, speaking, leading meetings and laboratory management. Practical research experience with mentors who have established research programs in women's health is critical for generating the preliminary data and publications needed to support successful extramural grant applications and pave the way to scientific independence. These research experiences are critical for leaders of multicenter studies, global initiatives and practice guidelines.

Courses, workshops and lectures:

  • CORE 6000 Responsible Conduct of Research (1)
  • CTSC 5300 Fundamentals of Clinical Epidemiology (1)
  • CTSC 5600 Statistics in Clinical & Translational Research (2)
  • CTSC 5080 What Researchers Need to Know About Health Disparities (1)
  • CCaTS Write Winning Grants Workshop (full day)
  • CCaTS Writing for High Impact Publications Workshop (full day)
  • Incorporating Sex as a Biological Variable in NIH Grants Workshop
  • Women's Health Grand Rounds (weekly) and presentations

Optional degree programs:

Meeting attendance:

  • Germination Career Development Lunch Meetings (once a month)
  • Progress meetings with BIRCWH Advisory Committee (18-month midterm meeting with mentors)
  • Meetings with Research Finance (quarterly)
  • Annual NIH BIRCWH Meeting (annually each fall in Washington, D.C.)
  • Midwest BIRCWH Consortium Meeting (annually)
  • Additional career development activities (TBD throughout the year)

Collaborations and networking

Aim: Partner with other BIRCWH programs, career development programs within Mayo Clinic and nationally, to enhance training in women's health research and foster a community of scholars.

A strong community of fellow scholars and established investigators in women's health research provides the networking opportunities and supports collaborations essential for sustaining and developing new interdisciplinary research programs. The rich environment of other career development programs at Mayo Clinic such as the CCaTS and the Specialized Center of Research Excellence (SCORE) programs, training in incorporating sex as a biological variable in research, and our collaborations with the BIRCWH programs at other institutions provide outstanding networking opportunities for our scholars.

Administrative component

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) requires that you cite the BIRCWH award (K12 HD065987) if you receive funding through the BIRCWH program or used any BIRCWH services to support your research.

Publications supported by BIRCWH must be submitted to PubMed Central and be assigned a PubMed Central Identifier (PMCID). For instructions, visit Mayo Clinic's NIH Public Access Policy intranet site (must be logged in to the Mayo Clinic network) or view the NIH Manuscript Submission System webpage.

Scholars must certify a minimum effort of 75% (50% minimum for surgeons) to the BIRCWH or Women's Health Research program providing their funding.