Women's Reproductive Health Research (WRHR)

Career Development Program

In 1999, the UW's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology was one of 20 Ob/Gyn sites chosen nationwide and funded for a five-year period by the National Institutes of Health to be a *Women's Reproductive Health Research Career Development Training Center*. Funding has been renewed through 2014. The new grant funding cycle begins in 2015. If the grant is reneweed, new scholars may be hired as early as January 2015.

The long-term goal of the UW WRHR program is to recruit and facilitate the career development of obstetrician-gynecologists who have demonstrated research potential and are committed to a career in academic medicine. The University of Washington program is unique in its broad approach to the WRHR career development award. We have assembled an internationally renowned mentor group from an exceptionally wide range of disciplines. Scholars build collaborative teams, with obstetrics and gynecology research as the core activity. The end result is an individually tailored educational program, unlike most fellowships available in the field of obstetrics and gynecology.

The principal training format is a mentored experience with a successful investigator (clinical or basic research) for a minimum of two, but up to five, years. During this period, the scholar devotes 80% of their time to research. The research scope is open for the scholar and mentor to direct, and encompasses all areas of obstetrics and gynecology and its subspecialties. As of 2010, 170 scholars nationwide have been accepted into the program. The UW Ob/Gyn Department can support a maximum of three scholars at any given time.

For further information, go to:

Eligibility Requirements

  • MD or MD/PhD with completed Ob/Gyn residency (completed fellowship optional)
  • No previous NIH independent research awards (R01, R03) or more than 3 years on a K award
  • United States citizen, non-citizen national, or permanent citizen with verification of legal admission
  • Individuals from under-represented backgrounds are encouraged to apply

Salary Support & Appointment

  • Appointments are for a minimum of two and maximum of five years
  • Salary support will be at the instructor/assistant professor level
  • Additional $25,000 annually for research support/course work


Currently Funded Scholars

  • Barbara S Norquist, MD, Gynecologic Oncology (Mentor—Elizabeth M Swisher, MD)
    Identification of Germline Mutations in DNA-Repair Genes in Women with Ovarian Cancer
    (July 2012-June 2017)
  • John Liao, MD, PhD, Gynecologic Oncology (Mentor—Mary Nora Disis, MD)
    Development of a Polyepitope DNA Vaccine for Ovarian Cancer Immunotherapy
    (September 2010-August 2015)
  • Jennifer Unger, MD, PhD, Women's Health (Mentor--Grace C John-Stewart, MD, MPH, PhD)
    Health Technology to Improve Maternal and Neonatal Health in Resource Limited Settings
    (May 2011 to September 2014)

Past Scholars

  • Hilary S Gammill, MD, Maternal-Fetal Medicine (Mentor—J Lee Nelson, MD)
    Immunologic Maladaptation and Microchimerism in Preeclampsia
    (January 2007–December 2011)
  • Caroline M Mitchell, MD, MPH, Women's Health (Mentor—Lisa M Frenkel, MD)
    HIV-1 in the Female Genital Tract
    (August 2006–April 2010)
  • Jennifer A Unger, MD, MPH, Women's Health (Mentor—Grace C John-Stewart, MD, MPH, PhD)
    The Immunologic Factors Involved in Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes Related to Malarial Infection
    (August 2007–April 2009)
  • Michael F Fialkow, MD, MPH, Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery (Mentor—Noel S Weiss, MD, DrPH)
    Epidemiology of Recurrent Pelvic Organ Prolapse
    (July 2004–July 2007)
  • Kristina M Adams Waldorf, MD, Women's Health (Mentor—J Lee Nelson, MD)
    The Maternal-Fetal Immune Response to Preterm Labor
    (July 2002–December 2006)
  • Jennifer L Melville, MD, MPH, Women's Health (Mentor—Edward A Walker, MD)
    Depression and Obstetric-Gynecologic Disorders
    (July 1999 to March 2004)
  • Elizabeth M Swisher, MD, Gynecologic Oncology (Mentor—Mary-Claire King, MD)
    Molecular Markers in Ovarian Cancer
    (July 1999 to September 2002)
  • Susan D Reed, MD, MPH, Women's Health (Mentor—Noel S Weiss, MD, DrPh)
    Steroid Hormones and Uterine Neoplasms
    (July 1999 to July 2001)
  • S Samuel Kim, MD, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (Mentor—Michael R Soules, MD)
    Ovarian Cryopreservation and Transplantation
    (July 1999 to July 2001)

Scientific Mentors

Current Mentors

  • William J Bremner, MD, PhD
    – Male reproduction
    – Population research
  • Mary L (Nora) Disis, MD*
    – Cancer Immunology
  • Evan Eichler, PhD
    – Genome evolution
  • Lisa M Frenkel, MD
    – HIV and maternal-child transmission
  • Denise A Galloway, PhD
    – Cancer biology cell cycle and signal transduction
    – Virology
  • Michael Gravett, MD
    – Prematurity
  • Mary Hebert, PharmD, FCCP
    – Pregnancy and clinicopharmacology
  • King K Holmes, MD, PhD
    – AIDS and STDs
  • G Stanley McKnight, PhD
    – Molecular genetics and reproductive proteins
  • Grace C John-Stewart, MD, MPH, PhD*
    – Global health and HIV
  • Mary-Claire King, PhD*
    – Molecular biology cancer research BRCA
  • J Lee Nelson, MD
    – Immunologic aspects of reproduction and transplantation
  • Dorothy L Patton, PhD
    – Sexually transmitted infections, topical microbicide and vaccine development
  • Craig Rubens, MD, PhD
    – Preterm birth
  • Robert A Steiner, PhD
    – Molecular neuroendocrinology
  • Willie Swanson, PhD
    – Molecular genetics of reproductive proteins
  • Elizabeth Swisher, MD*
    –Genetics of gynecological cancers
  • Noel S Weiss, MD, DrPH
    – Cancer epidemiology

*Active mentors to current scholars

Potential Mentors (pending NIH approval)

  • John Amory, MD
  • Joseph Beavo, PhD
  • Victoria Holt, PhD, MPH
  • Yougmin Kim, PhD
  • Peter Rabinovitch, PhD
  • Anne Stevens, MD, PhD
  • Jashvang Unadkat, PhD

How to Apply

Contact Coordinator Erin McCoy, MPH by email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with your indication of interest and include:

  1. Brief statement of research and career plans
  2. Curriculum vitae or biosketch

Eligible candidates will be contacted and encouraged to send an application form.  Minority candidates are encouraged to apply.

For further information, contact:

  • Dr. Susan Reed (Research Program Director)
  • Dr. Elizabeth Swisher (Scientific Advisor)
  • Dr. David Eschenbach (Principal Investigator)