The North Carolina Program for Women’s Health Research was founded in 2000 under the auspices of the UNC Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology. The previous director, Dr. Katherine Hartmann, and a small staff established the program in its former location at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research.
As the Center grew, a decision was reached to officially change CWHR from a departmental program to a center within the UNC School of Medicine. The Center for Women’s Health Research at UNC, also referred to as CWHR adopted its new name in 2004.
In November 2008, Dr. Wendy Brewster began as the new director, and in February 2009, CWHR moved to its present offices in Southern Village. A new vision and mission were crafted, focusing on increasing research collaborations, enhancing existing research efforts in all areas of women’s health and wellness, identifying new areas for research, and strengthening the measurement of long-term improvement of the health of the women of North Carolina.
Since 2004, Center grants have secured over $50 million in funding. Organizations we have worked with include the National Institutes of health (NIH), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), and other federal agencies, private foundations, and multiple pharmaceutical companies conducting clinical trials. Today, an average grant submitted to one of the institutes of the NIH has less than a 15% chance of being funded; the average funding rate on proposals CWHR administers is approximately 41% overall.
For the past ten years, the Center produces and distributes the NC Women’s Health Report Card biennially; it has been an in-depth review of the health status of North Carolina’s women using a five-year rolling window for comparison. In 2011 CWHR shifted to tracking ten-year trends in the major areas of research focus for the Center, more clearly tying the report card into the research agenda we are developing.