The Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health

Community Engagement

DEW Point Program

ImageThe Department's unique Division of Equity in Women's and Perinatal Medicine (DEW Point) developed by Dr. Irwin R. Merkatz promotes faculty development of culturally competent leaders to address the challenging clinical, research and educational issues that are reflected in persistent health outcome and health care delivery gaps in the United States. The "DEW Point Scholars" are the backbone of this program, reflecting the Department's plan for mentoring young faculty who will be prepared to address racial and ethnic disparities in women's and perinatal health. A superb cadre of uniquely committed and culturally diverse faculty and fellows have been chosen as DEW Point Scholars. This group of young, culturally competent, highly trained academic clinical scientists integrate sociocultural determinants of health and robust quantitative basic science and clinical research to promote effective interventions directed at health outcome disparities throughout a women's life in the Bronx.

DEW Point Scholars have included Garfield Clunie, MD, Nereida Correa, MD, Ashlesha Dayal, MD, Marsha Guess, MD, Gloria Huang, MD, Dineo Khabele, MD, Genevieve Neal-Perry, MD, PhD, Lubna Pal, MD, Setul Pardanani, MD, Wendy Wilcox, MD, MPH, and Rodney Wright, MD. These DEW Point Scholars were prominently featured at the Department's annual Autumn in New York conference in November 2003, which focused on gender as well as other sub-group disparities in health outcomes.

Dr. Irwin Merkatz has said " As academic leaders, members of the Einstein community must be proactive, particularly when serving families in the diverse community of the Bronx...Our hope is that the DEW Point program will become a national model for offering women and minority physicians greater opportunities for advancement in academia and in their medical practices. Our goal is to provide an integrated training site for a significant segment of the health force of the future, and to equip them with the tools needed for providing more equitable and culturally sensitive care."


DEWPoint Successes in Acquisition of Grant Funding

The summer of 2009 was truly a summer of excellence in extramural funding for our Department, and served as a marker of the maturation of our Department’s DEWPoint Program. While DEWPoint has seen many successes over the past several years, in 2009 it achieved special prominence. DEWPoint Program faculty have now obtained important and elusive grant funding for their research and Dr. Irwin R. Merkatz is rightfully proud of the all the efforts put into these accomplishments. Some examples of the plethora of recent success through the DEWPoint Program are:

Dr. Francine Einstein, Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, has been awarded a highly sought-after and prestigious independent researcher R01 Award from the NIH’s Roadmap Epigenomics Program ($2.03 million). Dr. Einstein will study “Genome-Wide DNA Methylation Profiles Associated with Abnormal Intrauterine Growth”, offering a novel hypothesis that conditions during fetal development alter epigenetic patterns of DNA methylation in non-embryonic stems cells which may be a marker for, or contribute to, susceptibility to Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and other age-related diseases. The study will utilize an innovative technology, developed by Dr. John Greally, Director of the Center for Epigenomics at Einstein and co-Investigator for this study, to map epigenome-wide DNA methylation in non-embryonic stem cells of neonates exposed to abnormal intrauterine conditions marked by the extremes of birth weight. Dr. Einstein hopes that understanding the complex epigenetic underpinnings of fetal origins of adult disease may not only provide insight in to the developmental contributions to chronic diseases, like diabetes but may further enhance our understanding of many other age-related diseases.

Dr. Siobhan Dolan, Division of Reproductive Genetics, has been awarded a 2 year NIH grant entitled “Ethical & Social Implications of Genetic Testing In the Case of Unexpected Deaths”. This grant award was offered under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and was one of very few funded. This project brings together an outstanding Yeshiva University team including Dr. Robert Marion of CERC and Pediatric Genetics, Dr. Christine Walsh and Dr. Tom McDonald of Cardiology, Dr. Louise Silverstein of the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology and Mr. David Wasserman of the Center for Ethics. This research project grew from the work being done at the Montefiore-Einstein Center for Cardiogenetics, where state-of-the-art testing and intervention to families that have experienced a sudden unexpected death (SIDS in an infant, SUDS in an older individual) is being offered through a collaborative effort of clinicians and researchers. In this funded research, Dr. Dolan and her colleagues will examine the ethical, legal and social issues that arise in the translation of genetic knowledge to clinical care in the area of cardiogenetics based on input from expert advisors and affected families. This multidisciplinary approach will provide new insights into the ethical, legal and social issues that accompany advances in translational medicine.

Two other faculty have achieved high honors in funding as well, with Dr. Gloria Huang and Dr. Mary King both being named RSDP awards winners (Research Science Development Program). Dr. King is a Phase I awardee, and Dr. Huang has been notified that she has won the competitive Phase II award of the RSDP program. These awards will allow Drs. Huang and King to train in research laboratories for additional years, preparing them to qualify as independent scientists for future NIH research.


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