We propose a 5-year; intensive mentored WRHR Scholar Program at UCSF to develop the careers of obstetrician/gynecologists to become independent researchers in the area of women's health in clinical, translational and basic science. Such training and career development, embedded in an environment of collaboration and interaction among mentors and Scholars, is a powerful approach to create the next generation of researchers who will translate findings from the laboratory and clinic to the betterment of women's health. One of our overriding goals in the WRHR program is to enhance the pipeline of this important area of career development.
The mission of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Women's Reproductive Health Research (WRHR) Career Development Program is to promote health and prevent disease in women by expanding the pool of well-trained, imaginative, productive investigators in the field of women's reproductive health. The WRHR program was first funded in 1998 and subsequently refunded in 2004 and 2009 to recruit and prepare outstanding candidates to acquire new skills needed to reach this goal. Twelve superb WRHR Scholars have been recruited to the program with ten having "graduated" to successful independent research careers and two continuing in our current WRHR program. Over the next five years of this renewal application, we propose to continue and improve our UCSF WRHR program to recruit, mentor, and prepare two outstanding Junior Faculty WRHR Scholars at a time to acquire and refine skills needed to become independent investigators in women's reproductive health. We have robust existing infrastructure, curriculum, and Scholar mentoring systems to meet the challenge of training the next generation of academic Obstetrician-Gynecologists. We propose a structured program of sufficient duration (2-5 years), relevant didactic education; extensive team-based mentoring, and protected time with immersion in a vibrant research community to prepare our Scholars for academic independence. The education of our Scholars will be further enriched by collaboration with the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) that provides research infrastructure, resources, training and opportunities for campus-wide multidisciplinary research collaborations. We have learned that intensive scientific and academic mentoring is mandatory during the initial years of a junior faculty appointment for a rewarding, successful and productive academic career. Scholars will be recruited to pursue biomedical (laboratory-based), translational, and/or and clinical research in reproductive science. Two pathways have been established to guide less experienced (Track I) and more experienced (Track II) Scholars. Translational research, a major focus in our Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, will be gained through participation in studies bridging biomedical and clinically oriented projects. Our WRHR Program draws strength from and contributes to several campus-wide programs focused on innovation in clinical, translational, epidemiologic and basic research, patient care, and disease prevention in women's reproductive health, as well as a strong institutional commitment to mentoring in a rich research environment structured for success and well-being of trainees and mentors. We are committed to nurturing a cadre of UCSF WRHR Scholars who will improve the health status of women by conducting important discovery, expanding knowledge, and testing innovations for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of reproductive disorders. Through our proposed mentoring program, we anticipate that our Scholars will continue to develop into independent investigators and future leaders of women's reproductive health research nationally and globally.