Dr. Lara Gerassi Selected as BIRCWH Scholar

Lara Gerassi
Dr. Lara Gerassi

Assistant Professor Lara Gerassi has been selected as a scholar with the UW-Madison Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) Program, an initiative of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to connect junior faculty or “BIRCWH Scholars” to senior faculty with similar interests in women’s health and/or advancing sex and gender differences in health.

Created by the Office of Research on Women’s Health, the BIRCWH Program provides scholars “career development opportunities through competency based curricular activities, mentored research training, and pioneering new approaches to team science and career coaching.”

The mission of UW-Madison’s BIRCWH program is to, “improve women’s health by developing a scientific workforce capable of leading independently funded research programs.”

Dr. Gerassi’s research aims to enhance the wellbeing of people who are involved in the sex trade, and is strongly informed by her clinical experiences with survivors of intimate partner violence and sex trafficking. Her book,  Sex Trafficking & Commercial Sexual Exploitation: Prevention, Advocacy, and Trauma-Informed Practice was the first comprehensive text to critically analyze the current research and best practices for social workers working with children, adolescents, and adults who are at risk of sex trafficking.

In an email announcing the recognition, Dr. Elizabeth Burnside, principal investigator and co-research director said, “we look forward to providing the UW BIRCWH scholars with training and career development opportunities including mentoring and team science programming in collaboration with the [UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research],” at UW-Madison.

In addition to Dr. Gerassi, Natalie Schmitz, PharmD, PhD (School of Pharmacy) was also selected as a new scholar and Mady Greene, PhD (School of Nursing) will continue in her second year with the program.