University of Illinois at Chicago
National Center of Excellence in Women's Health

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What's New





CoE Receives NIH BIRCWH Award

In September, the UIC Center of Excellence in Women’s Health received the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) Award. This K12 grant from NIH provides funding for junior faculty to pursue research interests in women’s health. This award is highly competitive and the first K12 ever received by UIC.

The program is led by Dr. Stacie Geller, Principal Investigator, CRWG/CoE and College of Medicine; Dr. Sarah Kilpatrick, Program Director and Co-Investigator, College of Medicine; and Dr. Tonda Hughes, Co-Investigator, College of Nursing. This leadership team will oversee the program with the goal of attracting innovative women’s health scholars to UIC. The program plans to train eight junior faculty scholars over the five year grant period.

The main objectives of the BIRCWH program are to: (1) increase the number of investigators, particularly women and underrepresented minorities, in women’s health research at UIC; (2) increase the breadth of institutional support for interdisciplinary women’s health research and the resources available to scholars by building on existing strong institutional linkages with other research, training, and academic units on campus; (3) create a strong faculty mentoring and peer networking infrastructure, to enhance the success of junior scholars in developing women’s health research programs; and (4) prepare scholars through training and mentoring to successfully compete for research funding and to become national leaders in interdisciplinary women’s health research.

BIRCWH scholars are chosen from junior faculty at UIC who have shown a past track record of interest and excellence in women’s health research. For more information about the BIRCWH program, please contact Lynn Modla at or 312-413-7817, or visit the BIRCWH website.


CoE Receives DHHS ASIST2010 Award

The UIC CoE was recently awarded a 3-year grant from the Office on Women’s Health, Department of Health and Human Services entitled, “Advancing System Improvements to Support Targets for Healthy People 2010” (ASIST2010). This grant program supports partnerships that are working to address cardiovascular disease, cancer, or diabetes using a gender-specific, population-based approach.

In collaboration with the Illinois Department of Public Health Office of Women’s Health (IDPH OWH), the Southern Seven Health Department, and The Cooper Institute, the CoE developed the “Southern Seven Women’s Initiative for Cardiovascular Health”, or SSWICH. The goal of SSWICH is to improve the cardiovascular risk provide of adult women using multiple strategies, including a free 12-week class for women, a peer education program, and a mass media campaign.

The Southern Seven Health Department serves the counties of Alexander, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, and Union, located in the southernmost part of Illinois. The region is very rural, with a population of approximately 71,000 residents living over 2,003 square miles. Heart disease mortality, morbidity, and risk factors are among the highest in Illinois in the southern seven counties.

SSWICH involves a multi-faceted evaluation to understand the effectiveness of this innovative program and its potential for dissemination to other areas of the state. The CoE is excited about this collaborative initiative, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to address a critical health problem for women in Illinois. For more information about SSWICH, please contact Kris Zimmermann at


CoE Continues Health Education Program Targeting Adolescents

Thanks to a grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Office of Women's Health, the UIC CoE is offering BodyWorks, a healthy eating and exercise program developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health. BodyWorks targets girls ages 9 to 14 by working with parents and caregivers to provide tools and support to enhance healthy lifestyles.

The CoE is seeking collaborating partners to offer training sessions in community settings in 2008. To learn more about BodyWorks, please view the BodyWorks PowerPoint presentation or contact Sarah Shirk at or 312-413-1636 or Kris Zimmermann at or 312-413-4251.


Interdepartmental Graduate Women's Health Concentration Now Available!

In January 2006, the University of Illinois' Board of Trustees approved the new Interdepartmental Graduate Concentration in Women's Health. This new concentration was developed to address the need for researchers, administrators, educators, and practitioners across disciplines to obtain the skills and knowledge necessary for professional work within the field of Women's Health.

The Concentration was established to reflect the multidisciplinarity of the field of Women's Health, with the participation of UIC CoE staff and faculty from the College of Nursing, School of Public Health, and the Gender and Women's Studies Program - each of which are sponsoring units for the concentration. Faculty from the departments of English, Anthropology, and History were also involved in developing the project proposal.

The new Concentration is offered to graduate level students in the College of Nursing and the School of Public Health. The Concentration is a 4 course, 12 credit hour Concentration, in which at least 6 credit hours are required to be outside of the student's home college, school or department. Additional academic units will be added as sponsors in the near future, enabling graduate students from additional disciplines to participate in the Concentration.

For more information, contact Mary Kleinman at or Carrie Klima at or visit

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UIC's National Center of Excellence in Women's Health
Administrative Offices
(M/C 980)
1640 West Roosevelt Rd., 5th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60608-6902
Ph: 312-413-1924 Fax: 312-413-7423