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First NIH/NICHD Women's Reproductive Health Research (WRHR) Career Development K12 Award Recipients Announced

Friday, October 23, 2020
Dr. Rebecca Previs - Dr. Jonas Swartz

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology is pleased to announce the selection of the first NIH/NICHD Women's Reproductive Health Research (WRHR) Career Development K12 Award recipients. Faculty Rebecca Previs, MD, MS (Gynecologic Oncology); and Jonas Swartz, MD, MPH (Women’s Community and Population Health), were named the first Duke WRHR Scholars. Through the WRHR program, the two faculty will have the opportunity to participate in an extensive training program that combines cutting-edge research experiences with an innovative and proven career development framework to help develop the next generation of Ob/Gyn clinician-scientists.

Dr. Previs is a gynecology cancer specialist with a passion for taking care of women who have a diagnosis of ovarian, uterine, cervical, vulvar or vaginal cancer. Her award proposal is titled “Turning ProMisE into Practice: Molecular Classification to Prognosticate Response in Medically Managed Endometrial Cancers.”

Description: Molecular characterization of uterine cancer predicts survival in patients undergoing standard of care surgery, but it has not previously been evaluated in medically managed patients. This study (1) assesses the prognostic value of molecularly characterizing patients with uterine cancer treated with a progestin-secreting intrauterine device (LNG-IUD) in a multi-institutional cohort, and (2) pilots a prospective clinical trial in patients treated with LNG-IUD for uterine cancer to evaluate feasibility of integrating molecular biomarkers.

Dr. Swartz serves as Medical Director of Family Planning and Ryan Program Director in the Division of Women’s Community and Population Health. His award proposal is titled “Barriers to Postpartum Contraceptive Care, Perceived Racial Discrimination and Long-Term Maternal and Infant Health.”

Description: Better access to postpartum contraception could help mitigate North Carolina’s racial, ethnic and economic disparities in maternal and infant health. Through our three aims, we seek to understand how barriers to postpartum care and contraceptive care, with a focus on perceived racial discrimination, affect health outcomes for women and infants.

Duke’s WRHR Scholars Award was received in the fall of 2020 by Ob/Gyn Department Chair Matthew Barber, MD, MHS (PI); Evan Myers, MD, MPH (Research Director); and Friederike Jayes, DVM, PhD (Program Coordinator). Duke joins an impressive NIH/NICHD-funded 15-site network of Ob/Gyn Departments across the U.S. The program will support up to two WRHR early stage faculty at any one time, across six research areas of excellence aligned with Departmental and institutional expertise and priorities.