Welcome to the Oregon BIRCWH

The Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH), in the Director's Office of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), established the BIRCWH Program  in 2002 to advance mentored research career development of junior faculty who will be engaged in interdisciplinary basic, behavioral, clinical, or health services research in women's health. The Oregon BIRCWH program is dedicated to training tomorrow's leaders in women's health research.

Photo of BIRCWH Leadership and Scholars: Drs. Leslie Garcia, Quin Denfeld, Mary Roberts Davis, Bethany Samuelson Bannow, Estela Vasquez Guzman, Deanne Tibbitts, and Leslie Myatt, and Susan Rosenkranz
BIRCWH Leadership and Scholars (Left to Right): Drs. Leslie Garcia, Quin Denfeld, Mary Roberts Davis, Bethany Samuelson Bannow, C. Estela Vasquez Guzman, Deanne Tibbitts, and Leslie Myatt, and Susan Rosenkranz (Program Coordinator).
OHSU Research Week 2024 NW Women's Health and Sex/Gender Differences Conference

Wednesday, May 8, 2024, at OHSU Auditorium and Old Library

The Oregon BIRCWH Program, OHSU Center for Women's Health, and the OHSU Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology are proud to announce the 2024 Northwest Women's Health and Sex/Gender Differences Research Conference at Oregon Health & Science University.

This year's theme is:  The power of collaborative research in women’s health and sex/gender differences. 

We are seeking presentations from investigators working in collaborative groups in women’s health or sex/gender-based research. Selected groups will present an outline of their current program at the conference on May 8.  A prize will be awarded to the top session.

Presentation Submission Deadline: February 1, 2024
Submission guidelines:  One-page letter of interest that includes a brief overview of the investigators’ collaborative research and how it applies to women’s health and/or sex/gender differences research.
Send submissions/questions to: whru@ohsu.edu

The meeting seeks to highlight high-quality impactful research involving investigators from more than one administrative unit at OHSU or another regional institution. Examples include collaborations:

  • Involving more than one academic department within the School of Medicine
  • Between the School of Medicine and School of Nursing
  • Between OHSU centers and a department, or
  • Between an OHSU center or department and a department/center involving PSU, OSU or UO.

This full-day in-person conference is designed to ignite cross-institution, multidisciplinary research partnerships and collaborations within the Portland area and the greater state of Oregon. Previous conferences have been incredibly successful in developing new partnerships that have progressed to grant proposals, funding, and research. The conference takes place during OHSU Research Week to both highlight the BIRCWH and WRHR programs and their roles within the OHSU community, but also to give greater visibility to women’s health and sex/gender differences research on the OHSU campus.

We are thrilled to have Dr. Judy Regensteiner joining us as keynote speaker. Dr. Regensteiner is the director of the Ludeman Family Center for Women's Health Research and distinguished professor of medicine in the divisions of internal medicine and cardiology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. She is currently principal investigator for the BIRCWH Program at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Doris Duke Foundation's Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists. She is also on the NIH's Advisory Committee on Research on Women's Health.

Dr. Regensteiner's research expertise is in the cardiovascular effects of diabetes with a specific focus on women with type 2 diabetes since they appear to have more significant abnormalities than men with diabetes. Her lab has been funded for over 30 years and she has authored more than 170 research publications. She is also known for her research on peripheral arterial disease.

Conference program and registration information will be available soon.

View a recording of last year's 2023 conference

We are excited to be a part of OHSU Research Week this year. Please visit the Research Week website for information about submitting abstracts for the oral and poster presentation sessions at our event. 

Follow us on Twitter! @OregonBIRCWH

Announcements and updates

Photo of an OHSU vehicle driving down a rural road. The documentary title appears above the horizon:  Healing Within Reach

Dr. Cirila Estela Vasquez Guzman will participate in a panel conversation and moderated Q&A following a screen of: Healing Within Reach — a documentary-style short film by Robert A. Caudra and presented by the OHSU Foundation and the Knight Cancer Institute.

Feb 01, 2024 @ 4:00 p.m.
OHSU Knight Cancer Research Building, Auditorium

From mobile outreach vans providing screenings to some of Oregon’s most underserved populations to ground-breaking research rooted in personal connection, Healing Within Reach tells the story of the life-saving importance of equity and access in cancer prevention, detection, and care.  The screening will be followed by a panel conversation and moderated Q&A. Reception to follow. Panelists:  Amanda Bruegl, M.D., Jessica Currier, Ph.D., Cirila Estela Vasquez Guzman, Ph.D., M.C.R.Eneida R. Nemecek, M.D., M.S., M.B.A., Derrik Zebroski, and filmmaker Robert A. Cuadra.

Headshot of Dr. Elizabeth Wood

Welcome to Elizabeth Wood, PhD, our new Oregon BIRCWH Scholar!

Dr. Elizabeth Wood is a postdoctoral trainee in the Department of Psychiatry at OHSU. As a BIRCWH Scholar, Dr. Wood’s research aims to identify maternal factors that shape the intrauterine environment, ultimately exerting programming effects on child neurodevelopmental health trajectories. Her BIRCWH project focuses on examining the mechanistic role of placental inflammation in the relationship between maternal metabolic health, dietary choices during pregnancy, and offspring behavioral health.

Learn about Dr. Elizabeth Wood and their project

Headshot for Dr. Zhenzhen Zhang

Congratulations to Dr. Zhenzhen Zhang on the selection of her BIRCWH funded project paper “Association between Gut Microbiota and Breast Cancer: Diet as a Potential Modulating Factor” published in Nutrients as the School of Medicine’s Paper of the Month. The study was led by a team including first author Duygu Altinok Dindar, MD, PhD, postdoctoral scholar, CEDAR, and senior author Zhenzhen Zhang, PhD, MPH, MMed, assistant professor, Division of Oncological Sciences, OHSU School of Medicine, and member of the Knight Cancer Institute.

Learn more about Dr. Zhang's paper on key findings about the gut microbiome, lifestyle factors, and breast cancer risk

Photo: Left to right: Windy Alonso (University of Nebraska), Julie Bidwell (University of California Davis), Quin Denfeld, and Shelli Feder (Yale) at the AHA awards ceremony.
Photo: Left to right: Windy Alonso (University of Nebraska), Julie Bidwell (University of California Davis), Quin Denfeld, and Shelli Feder (Yale) at the AHA awards ceremony.

Congratulations to Dr. Quin Denfeld, recipient of the Marie Cowan Promising Early Career Investigator Award by the American Heart Association’s Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing. The award is given to a junior investigator (5-10 years post-terminal degree) each year who demonstrates the scientific excellence and spirit of innovation exemplified by Dr. Marie Cowan’s work.

Dr. Denfeld received the award at the organization’s 2023 Scientific Sessions. She submitted her publication on candidate biomarkers of physical frailty in heart failure (funded by the BIRCWH) that was published in the February 2023 issue of the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. Co-authors include BIRCWH alum Dr. Christopher Lee and current BIRCWH Scholar Dr. Mary Roberts Davis.

You can access the paper here and learn about Dr. Denfeld's lab here. Read more about this award on OHSU Now


2024 Northwest Women's Health and Sex/Gender Differences Research Conference, May 8, 2024 @ OHSU Auditorium

BIRCWH & WRHR joint peer-to-peer meetings (virtual) - occur every other Friday from 1:00-2:30 p.m.