Training the Next Generation of Women’s Health Researchers

What do you get when you teach students to ask new and important questions? A promise for a better future.

Now more than ever, it is crucial for researchers to study the influence of sex and gender on health. 

Women’s Health Research at Yale tailors our training to complement the interests and experience of promising researchers, who range from inquisitive undergraduate and highly skilled graduate students to rising junior faculty. 

Women’s Health Research at Yale’s Undergraduate Fellowship now offers our students the opportunity to work alongside and learn from accomplished Yale faculty members who study the influence of sex and gender in biomedical research and translate findings into medical practice. 

It is designed to enrich students’ current studies as they learn to ask and answer novel and timely biomedical research and clinical care questions and are taught the most contemporary approaches to the science of women’s health. WHRY’s goal is to provide an immersive experience, becoming the students’ “scientific home” that is a supportive link to their coursework and efforts in other research and academic settings.

The Yale Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCHW) Scholar Program provided interdisciplinary research skill development through mentoring, coaching, and team science experience for junior faculty interested in a research career focused on women’s health and addictive behaviors. Funded by a $2.5 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health, the program developed independent investigators with the skills necessary to make enduring contributions to the prevention and treatment of addictive behaviors. The scholars who have graduated from WHRY’s BIRCWH program attained outstanding research positions with grant funding. 

WHRY’s training program also has evolved to include collaborations that advance research in clinical settings. This includes collaborating with Dr. Lisa Freed to establish research within the Yale New Haven Hospital's Women's Heart and Vascular Program that is aimed at developing interventions to achieve better cardiac outcomes for women. 

WHRY also collaborated with the student editors of the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine (YJBM) to publish an issue on the influence of sex and gender on health. The issue came out in June 2016 with peer-reviewed articles on smoking, stress and depression; the effect of tobacco smoking on mothers’ brains; the preference patients show for the gender of their physicians in a hospital’s Emergency Department; the effects of gender-based violence on unwanted pregnancy and abortion; the effect of marijuana on the female reproductive system; and other topics. 

Currently, WHRY is collaborating with Dr. Njeri Thande, a cardiologist and Assistant Professor at Yale School of Medicine, and her team of medical students integrating a focus on sex and gender into the YSM curriculum. Their goal is for instructors to teach the latest findings concerning sex and gender across the different disciplines, thus leading to better outcomes for patients.

Will the Next Generation Study Women's Health?

Will the Next Generation Study Women's Health?

WHRY is investing in the future by mentoring and training scientists to factor gender into their research, emphasizing translation of their findings to benefit and improve health.