Center for Perinatal Outcomes Research

Center for Perinatal Outcomes Research

The “Center”, originally called the Center for Research on Women’s Health, was founded at the University of Florida in the late 1990’s to foster interdisciplinary and inter-professional research collaborations in Women’s Health. It was the first Center at the University of Florida not housed in a particular College, but rather encompassed a University wide collection of researchersacross many disciplines. Although the Center became inactive for a few years in the mid 2000’s, the Dean of the College of Medicine (COM) reinstated it in 2009. The direction and oversight of the Center was assigned to the Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Steering Committee Members:
Kirk Conrad
Geof Dahl
Tony Gregg
Pete Hansen
Nancy Hardt
Amon Peck
Mary Peoples Shep
Jeffrey Roth
Dikea (Kay) Roussos-Ross
Betsy Shenkman
Stephen Sugrue
Charles Williams
Stan Williams

A steering committee was formed of researchers from several Departments and Colleges at the University of Florida, all interested in research on Reproduction and Perinatal Biology and Outcomes including representatives from Obstetrics and Gynecology, Physiology, Pediatrics, Pharmacology, Animal Sciences, Dairy Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Institute for Child Health Policy, Dentistry and the COM Dean for External Relations (see member list in sidebar).

The Center was then renamed the Center for Perinatal Outcomes Research and subsequently approved by the Florida Board of Governors. The change in Center name was intended to focus the vision of the Center on research that would lead to improved perinatal outcomes, although the original intent of interdisciplinary and inter-professional research collaborations across many fields of basic science, medicine, and social sciences was maintained. Collaborations for improving perinatal outcomes and subsequent child development, as well as increasing reproductive and lactational efficiency among large animals would continue to include basic, translational and clinical research. Funding for the Center was initiated by the Dean of the College of Medicine and has subsequently continued through contributions of indirect cost allocations from grants of Principal Investigators in the Center.

The Center has recently partnered with the D.H. Barron Reproductive and Perinatal Biology Research Program, which has been in existence for more than 40 years at the University of Florida. Together, they meet weekly during the academic year for a series of educational seminars, which includes participants fromundergraduate programs, master level students and pre and postdoctoral students, as well as MDs, PhDs and DVMs from a variety of departments and colleges at UF. The Center continues to sponsor two named lectures a year (including the D.H. Barron Lecture) for the seminar series in order to bring to UF renowned outside speakers in thearea of reproductive and perinatal research, which promotes not only collaboration and education at UF, but also fosters potential collaboration between UF researchers and researchers outside of UF.

The Center sponsored in 2010 a “speed dating” meeting where over 20 researchers from around the University met to discuss their research initiatives and to establish new collaborations between researchers of different disciplines. In 2011, a Center Retreat was held for all researchers interested in perinatal outcome research. Fourteen talks were presented by local faculty and students, and a guest speaker, Irena Buhimschi, M.D., gave two keynote addresses (see 2011 Center Retreat Schedule).

The Center has also sponsors a mini grant competition in the area of reproduction and awarded a $10,000 grant for a pilot research project in 2010-11.

The Center most recently has focused on supporting the development of a T32 Training grant in the area of Reproductive and Perinatal Biology and Outcomes Research, and one of the members of the original steering committee, Kirk P. Conrad, M.D., has become the PI and major developer of this initiative.