Interdisciplinary Research Career Development: Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health Program Best Practices

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, L4100 Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, 1500 East Medical Center Drive, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5276, USA.
Journal of Women's Health (Impact Factor: 2.05). 09/2011; 20(11):1587-601. DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2011.3165
Source: PubMed


The Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Institutes and Centers and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) have sponsored an interdisciplinary research career development program in five funding cycles since 2000 through a K12 mechanism titled "Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH)." As of 2010, 407 scholars have been supported in interdisciplinary women's health research and a total of 63 BIRCWH program awards have been made to 41 institutions across the U.S.
In an effort to share practical approaches to interdisciplinary research training, currently funded BIRCWH sites were invited to submit 300-word bullet-point style summaries describing their best practices in interdisciplinary research training following a common format with an emphasis on practices that are innovative, can be reproduced in other places, and advance women's health research.
Twenty-six program narratives provide unique perspectives along with common elements and themes in interdisciplinary research training best practices.

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    ABSTRACT: The Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) program is a mentored institutional research career development program developed to support and foster the interdisciplinary research careers of men and women junior faculty in women's health and sex/gender factors. The number of scholars who apply for and receive National Institutes of Health (NIH) research or career development grants is one proximate indicator of whether the BIRCWH program is being successful in achieving its goals. To present descriptive data on one metric of scholar performance-NIH grant application and funding rates. Grant applications were counted if the start date was 12 months or more after the scholar's BIRCWH start date. Two types of measures were used for the outcome of interest-person-based funding rates and application-based success rates. Grant application, person funding, and application success rates. Four hundred and ninety-three scholars had participated in BIRCWH as of November 1, 2012. Seventy-nine percent of BIRCWH scholars who completed training had applied for at least one competitive NIH grant, and 64% of those who applied had received at least one grant award. Approximately 68% of completed scholars applied for at least one research grant, and about half of those who applied were successful in obtaining at least one research award. Men and women had similar person funding rates, but women had higher application success rates for RoI grants. Data were calculated for all scholars across a series of years; many variables can influence person funding and application success rates beyond the BIRCWH program; and lack of an appropriate comparison group is another substantial limitation to this analysis. Our results suggest that the BIRCWH program has been successful in bridging advanced training with establishing independent research careers for scholars.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper we maintain that twenty-first century science is, fundamentally, a relational process in which knowledge is produced (or co-produced) through transactions among researchers or among researchers and public stakeholders. We offer an expanded perspective on the practice of twenty-first century science, the production of scientific knowledge, and what community psychology can contribute to these developments. We argue that: (1) trends in science show that research is increasingly being conducted in teams; (2) scientific teams, such as transdisciplinary teams of researchers or of researchers collaborating with various public stakeholders, are better able to address complex challenges; (3) transdisciplinary scientific teams are part of the larger, twenty-first century transformation in science; (4) the concept of heterarchy is a heuristic for team science aligned with this transformation; (5) a contemporary philosophy of science known as perspectivism provides an essential foundation to advance twenty-first century science; and (6) community psychology, through its core principles and practice competencies, offers theoretical and practical expertise for advancing team science and the transformation in science currently underway. We discuss the implications of these points and illustrate them briefly with two examples of transdisciplinary team science from our own work. We conclude that a new narrative is emerging for science in the twenty-first century that draws on interpersonal transactions in teams, and active engagement by researchers with the public to address critical accountabilities. Because of its core organizing principles and unique blend of expertise on the intersection of research and practice, community psychologists are well-prepared to help advance these developments, and thus have much to offer twenty-first century science.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · American Journal of Community Psychology
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and Drexel University College of Medicine have designed and implemented national career development programs (CDPs) to help women faculty acquire and strengthen skills needed for success in academic medicine. The authors hypothesized that skills women acquired in CDPs would vary by career stage and program attended. Method: In 2011, the authors surveyed a national cohort of 2,779 women listed in the AAMC Faculty Roster who also attended one of three CDPs (Early- and Mid-Career Women in Medicine Seminars, and/or Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine) between 1988 and 2010 to examine their characteristics and CDP experiences. Participants indicated from a list of 16 skills whether each skill was newly acquired, improved, or not improved as a result of their program participation. Results: Of 2,537 eligible CDP women, 942 clicked on the link in an invitation e-mail, and 879 (93%) completed the survey. Respondents were representative of women faculty in academic medicine. Participants rated the CDPs highly. Almost all reported gaining and/or improving skills from the CDP. Four skills predominated across all three programs: interpersonal skills, leadership, negotiation, and networking. The skills that attendees endorsed differed by respondents' career stages, more so than by program attended. Conclusions: Women participants perceived varying skills gained or improved from their attendance at the CDPs. Determining ways in which CDPs can support women's advancement in academic medicine requires a deeper understanding of what participants seek from CDPs and how they use program content to advance their careers.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Academic medicine: journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges
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