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Brown / Women & Infants Hospital

Women's Reproductive Health Research (WRHR) Career Development Program

Career Development Program  Career Development Program  Career Development Program 

The Women's Reproductive Health Research (WRHR) program was initiated by the National Institutes of Health in response to concerns about the need for greater numbers of obstetrician-gynecologist physician scientists performing research on women's health. The K12 program provides an opportunity to build a talented pool of junior investigators in women's health research.

A WRHR grant recipient since 2005, the Brown/WIH program was recently awarded an additional 5 years of NIH funding allowing for new scholar appointments through 2015. With an exceptional group of mentors and research opportunities, the Brown/WIH program is well positioned to train the next generation of women's health researchers to perform innovative research that takes what is discovered at the basic science bench and translates it into clinical applications that improve women's health.

The purpose of the Brown / WIH WRHR program is to train a new cadre of women's health translational researchers that have the expertise and research skills to develop innovative research in women's reproductive health from basic science to clinical applications relevant to public health. The overarching goal of the Brown / WIH WRHR program is to provide a supportive and stimulating research environment that enables well-qualified, junior faculty physician-scientists to develop into well-funded leaders in women's reproductive health research with expertise in clinical translational research. The training program involves a tailored research and career development plan that works through intensive multidisciplinary mentoring, didactic seminars and practical hands-on research investigation.

The career objectives for each scholar are focused on:
  • Acquiring the necessary knowledge and research skills in relevant scientific areas as well as key areas in women's health and translational research.
  • Professional development including management and leadership skills.
  • Developing the foundation for an independent research career through an intensive mentored research experience.

Scholars are expected to actively write grants to the level of R01 / Program Projects as they transition through and beyond the program and to continue to mentor and interact with the program even after independent funding is achieved

Appointments are for a minimum of 2 years with the opportunity to renew for up to 5 years. During this period, the scholars devote at least 75% of their time to research. Scholars must be eligible for a faculty position at the level of Instructor or Assistant Professor. Salary will be commensurate with experience. Scholar progress will be measured through mentor and program leadership evaluation including number of peer-reviewer publications, scientific presentations, and grant support.

Brown/WIH areas of expertise

  • Epidemiologic/statistical methods and community health.
  • Perinatal diagnosis and management/screening in early pregnancy.
  • Translational immunology, HIV and AIDS.
  • Substance abuse in women.
  • Behavior change in women's health.
  • Development biology and cell dynamics.

Scholar eligibility requirements

At the time of appointment, candidates for support as WRHR scholars must:

  • Be a physician holding the MD or DO degree;
  • Have completed postgraduate residency training in obstetrics/gynecology;
  • Faculty appointment or candidate can be in the final research year of postdoctoral fellowship training in obstetrics/gynecology;
  • Identify an approved mentor or mentors with extensive research experience; (see approved list below. NIH approval is needed to add new mentors);
  • Be able to devote at least 9 person months (equivalent to 75 percent) of full-time effort conducting research and research career development;
  • Not be or have been a PD/PI on an R01, R29 or subproject of a Program Project (P01), Center (P50, P60, U54) grant, independent mentored career development (K-series) grants, or other equivalent research grant awards. Individuals who are or were PD/PIs on NIH small grants (i.e. R03s) or exploratory/developmental grants (i.e. R21s) may be eligible providing they meet the other eligibility requirements;
  • Be a US citizen or noncitizen national, or must have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence and possess a permanent resident card (USCIS Form 1-551) or some other verification as a permanent citizen. Individuals on temporary or student visas are no eligible.

Instructions for applying

To apply, please submit the following information to Denise Flinn, Sr. Project Coordinator, Division of Research (

  • Cover letter addressed to Dr. Maureen Phipps, WRHR Principal Investigator, describing reasons for applying to the program along with specific areas of interest in women's health.
  • Abstract of proposed research plan, including hypothesis and specific aims (1-2 pages).
  • Personal statement, including background and career goals (1-2 pages).
  • Curriculum Vitae or NIH Biosketch
  • Three letters of recommendation, including at least one from a proposed mentor.

Approved Brown/WIH WRHR Mentors

Each scholar will be required to have at least two dedicated mentors, one research-based mentor and one clinically-based mentor to supply guidance and expertise to assure successful academic development. As scholars refine their career development, they are encouraged to seek out multiple interdisciplinary mentors and advisors to complement their primary mentor team.

Investigators not included in the list below can serve as WRHR mentors but must first receive NIH approval.

Mentors by Translation Research Area

Basic Science

Department Affiliation

Research Area

Kim Boekelheide, MD, PhD

Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

Reproductive toxicology and biology

Karl Kelsay, MD, MOH

Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

Environmental exposures and cancer

James Padbury, MD


Developmental biology (CVD, placenta)

Translational and Clinical

Basic Science

Department Affiliation

Research Area

Donald Coustan, MD

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Gestational Diabetes

Susan Cu-vin, MD


Infectious diseases in women

Paul DiSilvestro, MD

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Treatment trials for women's cancers

Timothy Flanigan, MD


HIV in women and vulnerable populations

Barry Lester, MD

Psychiatry & Human Behavior

Developmental outcomes

Richard Moore, MD

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Biomakers in gynecologic cancers

Deborah Myers, MD

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Interstitial cystitis and incontinence

Dwight Rouse, MD, MSPH

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Perinatal epidemiology and clinical trials

Michael Stein, MD


Substance abuse

Katharine Wenstrom, MD

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Perinatal genetics

Caron Zlotnick, PhD

Psychiatry & Human Behavior

Women's behavioral health

Public Health

Basic Science

Department Affiliation

Research Area

Susan Allen, PhD

Community Health

Psychosocial outcomes in cancer survivors

Stephen Buka, ScD

Community Health

Maternal-child health epidemiology

Melissa Clark, PhD

Community Health

Health behavior in women

Kim Gans, PhD

Community Health

Nutrition and obesity prevention

Bess Marcus, PhD

Psychiatry & Human Behavior

CVD prevention, women's health promotion

Terrie Wetle, PhD

Community Health

Aging population

To learn more about these mentors, including federal funding, publications and research, please search the NIH Reporter database, Pubmed and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University websites.
Warren Alpert Medical School

Current WRHR Scholars

 Katina Robison, MD


Katina Robison, MD
March, 2009 – July, 2011
October, 2012 - present
"Anal cytology and HPV genotyping in women with lower genital tract neoplasia"

 E. Christine Brousseau, MD


E. Christine Brousseau, MD
January 15, 2014 to present
"Improving the quality of postpartum care: A detailed analysis of postpartum emergency department visits"

Previous WRHR Scholars

Kristen Matteson, MD, MPH


Kristen Matteson, MD, MPH
January, 2006 – September, 2008
Received NICHD-funded K23 mentored career development award
 "A Comprehensive Patient Based Outcome Measure for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding"

 Vivian Sung, MD, MPH


Vivian Sung, MD, MPH
July, 2006 – June, 2009
Received NICHD-funded K23 mentored career development award
"Patient-Reported Outcomes in Functioning for Female Pelvic Floor Disorders"

 Brenna Anderson, MD, MSc


Brenna Hughes, MD, MSc
July, 2006 – August, 2009
Received NICHD-funded K23 mentored career development award
"The Role of Mucosal Immunity in the Rise of HIV-1 Acquisition During Pregnancy"

 Vinita Goyal, MD, MPH

Vinita Goyal, MD, MPH
November 1, 2010 – June, 2013
Contraceptive Use Among Female Military Veterans

Denise Flinn
Senior Project Coordinator
Division of Research
Women & Infants Hospital
101 Dudley Street
Providence, RI 02905
(401) 274-1122 x 48554 (phone)
(401) 276-7871 (fax)

Principal Investigator
Maureen G. Phipps, MD, MPH
Chace-Joukowsky Professor
Chair, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Assistant Dean for Teaching and Research in Women's Health
Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Professor, Department of Epidemiology
Brown University School of Public health
Chief, Obstetrics & Gynecology
Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island
Care New England Health System

Research Director
Kristen A. Matteson, MD, MPH
Interim Director, Division of Research
Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island
Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
(401) 274-1122 x 48562 (phone)
(401) 276-7871 (fax)

Women & Infants Hospital and Brown University are EEO/AA employers and actively solicit applications from minorities, women and protected persons.


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