Mentoring is an important element in the training of new investigators, particularly for KL2, K12, K08, and K23 funded scholars who are often physicians or other clinicians with limited prior research experience. Matching K scholars with appropriate mentors who have the mentoring skills and available time is an ongoing challenge for most universities. The goal of this paper is to present a variety of strategies used to select mentors for K awardees. The information presented in this special communication is derived from the literature, a national survey of CTSA leaders, as well as K scholar and K mentor focus groups.
Some of the mentor selection methods discussed in this paper include a) having the scholar find a mentor as part of the application process for the award, b) selecting mentors post award, c) expecting the chair of the department to identify a mentor(s), d) using a committee to match the scholar and a mentor based on a pool of approved mentors e) selecting additional mentors as the scholar’s research program develops. The paper concludes that mentor selection requires an ongoing programmatic approach with the active participation of K scholars, CTSA program leaders, center directors, research deans and chairs.
research mentor selection
To document the frequency of policies and activities in support of mentoring practices at institutions receiving a U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA).
The study consisted of a 69-item survey with questions about the inclusion (formal or informal) of policies, programs/activities and structures supporting mentoring within CTSA-sponsored research (i.e., KL2 programs) and, more broadly, in the CTSA’s home institution. The survey, conducted from November 2010 through January 2011, was sent to the 55 institutions awarded a CTSA at the time of the survey. Follow-up phone interviews were conducted to clarify responses as needed.
Fifty-one of 55 (92%) institutions completed the survey for institutional programs and 53 of 55 (96%) for KL2 programs. Responses regarding policies and activities involving mentor criteria, mentor–mentee relationship, incentives, and evaluative mechanisms revealed considerable variability between KL2 and institutional programs in some areas, such as having mentor qualification criteria and processes to evaluate mentors The survey also identified areas, such as training and women and minority mentoring programs, where there was frequent sharing of activities between the institutional and KL2 programs.
KL2 programs and institutional programs tend to have different preferences for policies versus activities to optimize qualification of mentors, the mentor–mentee relationship, incentives and evaluation mechanisms. Frequently, these elements are informal. Individuals in charge of implementing and maintaining mentoring initiatives can use the results of the study to consider their current mentoring policies, structures, and activities by comparing them to national patterns within CTSA institutions.
The goal of this research was to better understand the experiences and perspectives of mentors in a program designed to increase the number of American Indian students garnering PhDs. Challenges and benefits associated with mentoring undergraduates were identified through semistructured interviews.
Successfully recruiting students from underrepresented groups to pursue biomedical science research careers continues to be a challenge. Early exposure to scientific research is often cited as a powerful means to attract research scholars with the research mentor being critical in facilitating the development of an individual's science identity and career; however, most mentors in the biological sciences have had little formal training in working with research mentees. To better understand mentors’ experiences working with undergraduates in the laboratory, we conducted semistructured interviews with 15 research mentors at a public university in the Midwest. The interviewed mentors were part of a program designed to increase the number of American Indians pursuing biomedical/biobehavioral research careers and represented a broad array of perspectives, including equal representation of male and female mentors, mentors from underrepresented groups, mentors at different levels of their careers, and mentors from undergraduate and professional school departments. The mentors identified benefits and challenges in being an effective mentor. We also explored what the term underrepresented means to the mentors and discovered that most of the mentors had an incomplete understanding about how differences in culture could contribute to underrepresented students’ experience in the laboratory. Our interviews identify issues relevant to designing programs and courses focused on undergraduate student research.
The goal of this paper is to present strategies utilized to support K scholar research mentors. K scholars are generally assistant professors who are close to developing independent research programs. Of all the various types of mentees, K scholars offer the greatest challenges, as well as the greatest rewards, for research mentors. To see one's mentee achieve independent PI status and become an established investigator is one of the great joys of being a research mentor. Research mentors for K scholars, however, may not directly benefit from their mentoring relationship, neither in terms of obtaining data to support their research program or laboratory, nor in assistance with grants or scientific papers. There is a pressing need for the research community to address the workload, institutional expectations and reward system for research mentors. The dearth of research mentors and role models in clinical translational science parallels the decreasing number of physicians choosing careers in clinical research. While there is limited empirical information on the effectiveness of mentor support mechanisms, this white paper concludes that providing mentor support is critical to expanding the available pool of mentors, as well as providing training opportunities for K scholars.
translational research; salary; protected time; resources
Increasingly, national programs and leaders are looking at interdisciplinary collaborations as essential to future research. Twelve years ago, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) developed and implemented the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) K12 program to focus on interdisciplinary mentored career development for junior faculty in women's health research.
We applied a mixed-methods approach using an electronic survey and in-person presentations and discussions to understand best practices and lessons learned for interdisciplinary mentoring across BIRCWH K12 program leaders.
Results and Conclusions
We received responses from all 29 active BIRCWH programs. Factors associated with success included ensuring sufficient protected time for regular (weekly or biweekly) mentoring; mentors promoting the research independence of the Scholar; a team mentoring approach, including career as well as content mentors; and explicit and clear expectations outlined between the Scholar and mentor. The majority of programs conduct formal evaluations of mentorship, and 79% of programs offer training in mentorship for either Scholars, mentors, or both. This article presents program leaders' best practices, challenges, and lessons learned from mentoring junior faculty who are conducting women's health research, whether basic, clinical, behavioral, translational, or health services research, using an interdisciplinary mentoring approach.
Although mentoring is acknowledged as a key to successful and satisfying careers in medicine, formal mentoring programs for medical students are lacking in most countries. Within the framework of planning a mentoring program for medical students at Zurich University, an investigation was carried out into what types of programs exist, what the objectives pursued by such programs are, and what effects are reported.
A PubMed literature search was conducted for 2000 - 2008 using the following keywords or their combinations: mentoring, mentoring program, medical student, mentor, mentee, protégé, mentorship. Although a total of 438 publications were identified, only 25 papers met the selection criteria for structured programs and student mentoring surveys.
The mentoring programs reported in 14 papers aim to provide career counseling, develop professionalism, increase students' interest in research, and support them in their personal growth. There are both one-to-one and group mentorships, established in the first two years of medical school and continuing through graduation. The personal student-faculty relationship is important in that it helps students to feel that they are benefiting from individual advice and encourages them to give more thought to their career choices. Other benefits are an increase in research productivity and improved medical school performance in general. Mentored students also rate their overall well-being as higher. - The 11 surveys address the requirements for being an effective mentor as well as a successful mentee. A mentor should empower and encourage the mentee, be a role model, build a professional network, and assist in the mentee's personal development. A mentee should set agendas, follow through, accept criticism, and be able to assess performance and the benefits derived from the mentoring relationship.
Mentoring is obviously an important career advancement tool for medical students. In Europe, more mentoring programs should be developed, but would need to be rigorously assessed based on evidence of their value in terms of both their impact on the career paths of juniors and their benefit for the mentors. Medical schools could then be monitored with respect to the provision of mentorships as a quality characteristic.
Good mentoring is a key variable for determining success in completing a doctoral program. We identified prevailing mentoring practices among doctoral students and their mentors, identified common challenges facing doctoral training, and proposed some solutions to enhance the quality of the doctoral training experience for both candidates and mentors at Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS).
This cross-sectional qualitative evaluation was part of the monitoring and evaluation program for doctoral training. All doctoral students and their mentors were invited for a half-day workshop through the MakCHS mailing list. Prevailing doctoral supervision and mentoring guidelines were summarised in a one-hour presentation. Participants were split into two homogenous students’ (mentees’) and mentors’ groups to discuss specific issues using a focus group discussion (FGD) guide, that highlighted four main themes in regard to the doctoral training experience; what was going well, what was not going well, proposed solutions to current challenges and perceived high priority areas for improvement. The two groups came together again and the note-takers from each group presented their data and discussions were recorded by a note-taker.
Twelve out of 36 invited mentors (33%) and 22 out of 40 invited mentees (55%) attended the workshop. Mentors and mentees noted increasing numbers of doctoral students and mentors, which provided opportunities for peer mentorship. Delays in procurement and research regulatory processes subsequently delayed students’ projects. Similarly, mentees mentioned challenges of limited; 1) infrastructure and mentors to support basic science research projects, 2) physical office space for doctoral students and their mentors, 3) skills in budgeting and finance management and 4) communication skills including conflict resolution. As solutions, the team proposed skills’ training, induction courses for doctoral students-mentor teams, and a Frequently Asked Questions’ document, to better inform mentors’, mentees’ expectations and experiences.
Systemic and infrastructural limitations affect the quality of the doctoral training experience at MaKCHS. Clinical and biomedical research infrastructure, in addition to training in research regulatory processes, procurement and finance management, communication skills and information technology, were highlighted as high priority areas for strategic interventions to improve mentoring within doctoral training of clinician scientists.
Mentorship; Doctoral training; Supervision; Capacity building; Health care; Low and middle income countries; Uganda
The professional development of under-represented faculty may be enhanced by mentorship, but we understand very little about the mechanisms by which mentoring brings about change. Our study posed the research question, what are the mechanisms by which mentoring may support professional development in under-represented groups?
The study aims to: (i) to pilot a mentoring scheme for female academics; (ii) to compare various health-related and attitudinal measures in mentees at baseline, 6 months, and 1 year into the mentoring relationship and, (iii) to compare pre-mentoring expectations to outcomes at 6 months and 1 year follow-up for mentees and mentors.
Female academic mentees were matched 1:1 or 2:1 with more senior academic mentors. Online surveys were conducted to compare health-related and attitudinal measures and expectations of mentoring at baseline with outcomes at 6 months and 1 year using paired t-tests and McNemar's test for matched cohort data.
N = 46 mentoring pairs, 44 (96%) mentees completed the pre-mentoring survey, 37 (80%) at 6 months and 30 (65%) at 1 year. Job-related well-being (anxiety-contentment), self-esteem and self-efficacy all improved significantly and work-family conflict diminished at 1 year. Highest expectations were career progression (39; 89%), increased confidence (38; 87%), development of networking skills (33; 75%), better time-management (29; 66%) and better work-life balance (28; 64%). For mentees, expectations at baseline were higher than perceived achievements at 6 months or 1 year follow-up.
For mentors (N = 39), 36 (92%) completed the pre-mentoring survey, 32 (82%) at 6 months and 28 (72%) at 1 year. Mentors' highest expectations were of satisfaction in seeing people progress (26; 69%), seeing junior staff develop and grow (19; 53%), helping solve problems (18; 50%), helping women advance their careers (18; 50%) and helping remove career obstacles (13; 36%). Overall, gains at 6 months and 1 year exceeded pre-mentoring expectations.
This uncontrolled pilot study suggests that mentoring can improve aspects of job-related well-being, self-esteem and self-efficacy over 6 months, with further improvements seen after 1 year for female academics. Work-family conflict can also diminish. Despite these gains, mentees' prior expectations were shown to be unrealistically high, but mentors' expectations were exceeded.
Objective: To gain insight regarding the mentoring processes involving students enrolled in athletic training education programs and to create a mentoring model.
Design and Setting: We conducted a grounded theory study with students and mentors currently affiliated with 1 of 2 of the athletic training education programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
Participants: Sixteen interviews were conducted, 13 with athletic training students and 3 with individuals identified as mentors. The students ranged in age from 20 to 24 years, with an average of 21.6 years. The mentors ranged from 24 to 38 years of age, with an average of 33.3 years. Participants were purposefully selected based on theoretic sampling and availability.
Data Analysis: The transcribed interviews were analyzed using open-, axial-, and selective-coding procedures. Member checks, peer debriefings, and triangulation were used to ensure trustworthiness.
Results: Students who acknowledged having a mentor overwhelmingly identified their clinical instructor in this role. The open-coding procedures produced 3 categories: (1) mentoring prerequisites, (2) interpersonal foundations, and (3) educational dimensions. Mentoring prerequisites included accessibility, approachability, and protégé initiative. Interpersonal foundations involved the mentor and protégé having congruent values, trust, and a personal relationship. The educational dimensions category involved the mentor facilitating knowledge and skill development, encouraging professional perspectives, and individualizing learning. Although a student-certified athletic trainer relationship can be grounded in either interpersonal or educational aspects, the data support the occurrence of an authentic mentoring relationship when the dimensions coalesced.
Conclusions: Potential mentors must not only be accessible but also approachable by a prospective protégé. Mentoring takes initiative on behalf of a student and the mentor. A mentoring relationship is complex and involves the coalescence of both interpersonal and educational aspects of an affiliation. As a professional-socialization tactic, mentoring offers students a way to anticipate the future professional role in a very personal and meaningful way.
mentor; protégé; anticipatory socialization; qualitative research
The goal of this paper is to review the evaluation of mentors with a focus on training new investigators in clinical translational science. These scholars include physicians and PhD scientists who are generally assistant professors in clinical departments. This white paper is one of a series of articles focused on the programmatic elements of effective mentoring practices and the “current state of the art”. Evaluating mentor performance and providing formative feedback can lead to stronger mentoring and ultimately lead to increased success of new clinical and translational investigators. While there is general agreement that mentor evaluation can be helpful, the process is difficult. Trainees are reluctant to share negative experiences and to rate their mentors. Mentors are not sure they want to be evaluated. Program leaders are not sure how to effectively use the information. This white paper provides mentees, mentors and program leaders with new perspectives on mentor evaluation and ideas for future research.
evaluation; translational science; research training
Mentorship is perceived to play a significant role in the career development and productivity of academic clinicians, but little is known about the characteristics of mentorship. This knowledge would be useful for those developing mentorship programs.
To complete a systematic review of the qualitative literature to explore and summarize the development, perceptions and experiences of the mentoring relationship in academic medicine.
Medline, PsycINFO, ERIC, Scopus and Current Contents databases from the earliest available date to December 2008.
We included studies that used qualitative research methodology to explore the meaning and characteristics of mentoring in academic medicine. Two investigators independently assessed articles for relevance and study quality, and extracted data using standardized forms. No restrictions were placed on the language of articles.
A total of 8,487 citations were identified, 114 full text articles were assessed, and 9 articles were selected for review. All studies were conducted in North America, and most focused on the initiation and cultivation phases of the mentoring relationship. Mentoring was described as a complex relationship based on mutual interests, both professional and personal. Mentees should take an active role in the formation and development of mentoring relationships. Good mentors should be sincere in their dealings with mentees, be able to listen actively and understand mentees' needs, and have a well-established position within the academic community. Some of the mentoring functions aim at the mentees’ academic growth and others at personal growth. Barriers to mentoring and dysfunctional mentoring can be related to personal factors, relational difficulties and structural/institutional barriers.
Successful mentoring requires commitment and interpersonal skills of the mentor and mentee, but also a facilitating environment at academic medicine's institutions.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-009-1165-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
mentoring; academic medicine; systematic review; qualitative research
Little is known about the characteristics of mentoring relationships formed between faculty and medical students. Individual mentoring relationships of clinical medical students at Munich Medical School were characterized quantitatively and qualitatively.
All students signing up for the mentoring program responded to a questionnaire on their expectations (n = 534). Mentees were asked to give feedback after each of their one-on-one meetings (n = 203). A detailed analysis of the overall mentoring process and its characteristics was performed. For qualitative text analysis, free-text items were analyzed and categorized by two investigators. Quantitative analysis was performed using descriptive statistics and Wilcoxon-test to assess differences in grades between students with and without mentors.
High-performing students were significantly more likely to participate in the mentoring program (p<0.001). Topics primarily discussed include the mentee's personal goals (65.5%), career planning (59.6%), and experiences abroad (57.6%). Mentees mostly perceived their mentors as counselors (88.9%), providers of ideas (85.0%), and role models (73.3%). Mentees emphasized the positive impact of the mentoring relationship on career planning (77.2%) and research (75.0%).
Medical students with strong academic performance as defined by their grades are more likely to participate in formal mentoring programs. Mentoring relationships between faculty and medical students are perceived as a mutually satisfying and effective instrument for key issues in medical students’ professional development.
Mentoring relationships are a highly effective means of enhancing the bidirectional flow of information between faculty and medical students. A mentoring program can thus establish a feedback loop enabling the educational institution to swiftly identify and address issues of medical students.
mentoring; mentor; mentee; medical students; faculty; one-on-one mentoring
Mentoring is critical for career advancement in academic medicine. However, underrepresented minority (URM) faculty often receive less mentoring than their nonminority peers. The authors conducted a comprehensive review of published mentoring programs designed for URM faculty to identify “promising practices.”
Databases (PubMed, PsycINFO, ERIC, PsychLit, Google Scholar, Dissertations Abstracts International, CINHAL, Sociological Abstracts) were searched for articles describing URM faculty mentoring programs. The RE-AIM framework (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance) formed the model for analyzing programs.
The search identified 73 citations. Abstract reviews led to retrieval of 38 full-text articles for assessment; 18 articles describing 13 programs were selected for review. The reach of these programs ranged from 7 to 128 participants. Most evaluated programs on the basis of the number of grant applications and manuscripts produced or satisfaction with program content. Programs offered a variety of training experiences, and adoption was relatively high, with minor changes made for implementing the intended content. Barriers included time-restricted funding, inadequate evaluation due to few participants, significant time commitments required from mentors, and difficulty in addressing institutional challenges faced by URM faculty. Program sustainability was a concern because programs were supported through external funds, with minimal institutional support.
Mentoring is an important part of academic medicine, particularly for URM faculty who often experience unique career challenges. Despite this need, relatively few publications exist to document mentoring programs for this population. Institutionally supported mentoring programs for URM faculty are needed, along with detailed plans for program sustainability.
A comprehensive mentoring program includes a variety of components. One of the most important is the ongoing assessment of and feedback to mentors. Scholars need strong active mentors who have the expertise, disposition, motivation, skills, and the ability to accept feedback and to adjust their mentoring style. Assessing the effectiveness of a given mentor is no easy task. Variability in learning needs and academic goals among scholars makes it difficult to develop a single evaluation instrument or a standardized procedure for evaluating mentors. Scholars, mentors, and program leaders are often reluctant to conduct formal evaluations, as there are no commonly accepted measures. The process of giving feedback is often difficult and there is limited empirical data on efficacy. This article presents a new and innovative six-component approach to mentor evaluation that includes the assessment of mentee training and empowerment, peer learning and mentor training, scholar advocacy, mentee–mentor expectations, mentor self-reflection, and mentee evaluation of their mentor.
mentors; evaluation; outcomes
Although the importance of research mentorship has been well established, the role of mentors of junior clinical and translational science investigators is not clearly defined. The authors attempt to derive a list of actionable competencies for mentors from a series of complementary methods. We examined focus groups, the literature, competencies derived for clinical and translational scholars, mentor training curricula, mentor evaluation forms and finally conducted an expert panel process in order to compose this list. These efforts resulted in a set of competencies that include generic competencies expected of all mentors, competencies specific to scientists, and competencies that are clinical and translational research specific. They are divided into six thematic areas: (1) Communication and managing the relationship, (2) Psychosocial support, (3) Career and professional development, (4) Professional enculturation and scientific integrity, (5) Research development, and (6) Clinical and translational investigator development. For each thematic area, we have listed associated competencies, 19 in total. For each competency, we list examples that are actionable and measurable. Although a comprehensive approach was used to derive this list of competencies, further work will be required to parse out how to apply and adapt them, as well future research directions and evaluation processes.
mentoring; mentor; competencies; translational
Objective: The main objective was to determine to what extent the Medical Library Association (MLA) mentoring initiative was implemented in the South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association (SCC/ MLA) and to identify the needs, improvements, and adjustments in mentoring services for the future to improve the practice of librarianship.
Methods: The data were collected by administering an anonymous structured survey designed by the authors. The survey was mailed to all 335 chapter members. The authors elicited responses to determine the chapter members' mentoring needs, awareness of available resources, satisfaction with existing services and resources, needs for the future, and suggestions to meet those needs.
Discussion: Of the 335 delivered surveys, 184 were returned, yielding a return rate of 55%. Eighty percent had a mentor or mentors in their careers, and 74% were either very satisfied or satisfied with the relationship. The majority considered having a mentor a critical part of the professional experience. The mentoring activity chosen by respondents as the most important was improvement of job performance through skills development. Over 50% were aware of SCC/MLA's mentoring activities, and less than 50% were aware of MLA's mentoring Website.
Conclusions: The rate of response and the wealth of comments provided by respondents document the high level of interest in mentoring by medical librarians in the region. The following mentoring services were equally important to SCC/MLA members and were recommended for improvement or development at the regional level: a formalized mentoring program in the region, Web-based mentoring resources on the SCC/MLA Website, and a continuing education course for mentors. Members are aware of mentoring activities in the region; however, participation levels need to be increased in activities that SCC/MLA and MLA provide. Mentoring continues to evolve as a service in the profession.
Career development award programs often require formal establishment of mentoring relationships. The authors sought to gain a nuanced understanding of mentoring from the perspective of a diverse national sample of faculty clinician-researchers who were all members of formal mentoring relationships.
Between February 2010 and August 2011, the authors conducted semi-structured, in-depth telephone interviews with 100 former recipients of National Institutes of Health mentored career development awards and 28 of their mentors. Purposive sampling ensured a diverse range of viewpoints. Multiple analysts thematically coded verbatim transcripts using qualitative data analysis software.
Three relevant themes emerged: (1) the numerous roles and behaviors associated with mentoring in academic medicine, (2) the improbability of finding a single person who can fulfill the diverse mentoring needs of another individual, and (3) the importance and composition of mentor networks. Many respondents described the need to cultivate more than one mentor. Several participants discussed the utilization of peer mentors, citing benefits such as pooled resources and mutual learning. Female participants generally acknowledged the importance of having at least one female mentor. Some observed that their portfolio of mentors needed to evolve in order to remain effective.
Those who seek to promote the careers of faculty in academic medicine should focus upon developing mentoring networks, rather than hierarchical mentoring dyads. The members of each faculty member's mentoring team or network should reflect the protégé's individual needs and preferences, with special attention towards ensuring diversity in terms of area of expertise, academic rank, and gender.
Effective mentoring is an important component of academic success. Few programs exist to both improve the effectiveness of established mentors and cultivate a multi-specialty mentoring community. In 2008, in response to a faculty survey on mentoring, leaders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital developed the Faculty Mentoring Leadership Program (FMLP) as a peer-learning experience for mid-career and senior faculty physician and scientist mentors to enhance their skills and leadership in mentoring and create a supportive community of mentors. A planning group representing key administrative, educational, clinical, and research mentorship constituencies designed the nine-month course.
Participants met monthly for an hour and a half during lunchtime. Two co-facilitators engaged the diverse group of 16 participants in interactive discussions about cases based on the participants’ experiences. While the co-facilitators discussed with the participants the dyadic mentor-mentee relationship, they specifically emphasized the value of engaging multiple mentors and establishing mentoring networks. In response to post-session and post-course (both immediately and after six months) self-assessments, participants reported substantive gains in their mentoring confidence and effectiveness, experienced a renewed sense of enthusiasm for mentoring, and took initial steps to build a diverse network of mentoring relationships.
In this article, the authors describe the rationale, design, implementation, assessment, and ongoing impact of this innovative faculty mentoring leadership program. They also share lessons learned for other institutions that are contemplating developing a similar faculty mentoring program.
Residency program directors rely on an informal network of faculty mentors to provide guidance for residents. Faced with increasingly sophisticated competency-based evaluation systems and scrutiny of patient safety and resident well-being in today's environment, residency programs need more structured mechanisms for mentoring.
To clarify the role of resident advisors and mentors so that residents receive the right combination of direction and oversight to ensure their successful transition to the next phase of their careers.
The Duke Internal Medicine Residency Program undertook a formal assessment of the roles, responsibilities, and resource needs of its key faculty through a focus group made up of key faculty. A follow-up focus group of residents and chief residents was held to validate the results of the faculty group assessment.
The distinction between advising and mentoring was our important discovery and is supported by literature that identifies that mentors and advisors differ in multiple ways. A mentor is often selected to match resources and expertise with a resident's needs or professional interests. An advisor is assigned with a role to counsel and guide the resident through the residency processes, procedures, and key learning milestones.
The difference between the role of advisor and that of mentor is of critical importance and allowed for the evolution of faculty participants' role as resident advisors, including the formulation of expectations for advisors, and the creation of an advisor toolkit. Our modifiable toolkit can enhance the advising process for residents in many disciplines. We saw an improvement in resident satisfaction from 2006 to 2009.
The Graduate Partnerships Program (GPP), established in 2000, links universities with National Institutes of Health (NIH) laboratories for predoctoral training. Several partnerships required that students create collaborative dissertations between at least one NIH and one university research mentor. More than 60 students have entered into these co-mentored research collaborations, and many others established them even though not required. Much was learned about the experiences of these and other GPP students by using structured interviews as part of a formal self-study of the GPP in 2005. Complications of trying to work with two mentors are managed through careful program design and mentor selection. In the collaborative model, students develop a complex set of scientific and interpersonal skills. They lead their own independent research projects, drawing on the expertise of multiple mentors and acquiring skills at negotiating everyone's interests. They develop high levels of independence, maturity, flexibility, and the ability to see research questions from different perspectives. No evidence was found that co-mentoring diminishes the normally expected accomplishments of a student during the Ph.D. Multi-mentored dissertations require skills not all graduate students may possess this early in training, but for those who do, they can promote rapid and extensive development of skills needed for collaborative, interdisciplinary research.
This review systematically examines the literature regarding mentor–mentee relationships in surgery.
The usefulness of mentorship in surgical training has been expressed in many articles. However, to date, there has been no systematic review on mentoring surgical trainees. This surgical environment is different from other areas of medicine and requires young surgeons to learn skills not readily available from textbooks. Instead, mentors are a valuable mode of transferring this knowledge to the next generation of surgeons. Thus, mentorship is a worthy area of research and attention.
We identified all articles discussing mentorship in surgery between January 1985 and August 2010 using PubMed and ISI Web of Knowledge. Predetermined exclusion and inclusion criteria were used to screen articles by title, abstract, and full text in sequence. We extracted the relevant data, and then analyzed the prevalence of major surgical mentoring themes in the literature.
Of the 1,091 unique articles found during our original literature search, 38 were selected for review. The majority (68%) were commentary/editorial articles. The most discussed themes include the desirable qualities of a surgical mentor, the structure of mentor–mentee relationships, and advice for overcoming barriers to mentoring. Much less discussed themes include the desirable traits in a mentee and the appreciation of generational and cultural differences in mentorship.
Several barriers to effective surgical mentoring were identified, such as time constraints and a lack of female mentors. By focusing on the positive traits found in this review, for example, developing formal programs to alleviate time constraints, these barriers can be overcome and effective mentor–mentee relationships can be built. Many articles draw attention to the dying art of mentorship in surgical training programs, and currently, the literature on mentorship in surgery is somewhat scarce. These concerns should serve as motivation to revive mentorship in surgery education and to expand the literature regarding underexplored themes and overcoming the current barriers. Although mentorship may not always take on a structured form, it should not be treated casually because proper mentorship is the foundation for training quality surgeons.
Mentorship; Surgery; Systematic review
Mentoring is important throughout a physician's career and has been noted to be particularly important during residency training. Other studies suggest that women may experience difficulty in finding mentors.
This study explored gender-specific differences in residents’ mentoring experiences.
The authors conducted two focus groups at the University of Pittsburgh in July, 2004. One group was composed of 12 female residents; the other was composed of nine male residents. Discussions were audiotaped and transcribed. Two investigators coded the transcripts and identified emerging themes.
Residents of both genders cited multiple barriers to mentoring. Men′s strategies for finding mentors were more numerous than women′s and included identifying mentors through research, similar interests, friendship, and networking. Female strategies were limited and included identifying mentors through “word of mouth” and work experiences. Women described more passive approaches for finding a mentor than men.
Female residents may lack strategies and initiatives for finding mentors. Residency programs should create opportunities for residents to develop mentoring relationships, with special attention paid to gender differences.
Residents; mentoring; gender
A key component of the National Institutes of Health Roadmap for Medical Research is the development of interdisciplinary research teams. How best to teach and foster interdisciplinary research skills has not been determined. An effort at promoting interdisciplinary research was initiated by the Office of Research on Women’s Health at NIH in 1999. The following year, twelve academic centers were funded to support 56 scholar positions for two to five years under the acronym “BIRCWH: Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health.” A second cohort of twelve centers, called BIRCWH II, was funded in 2002. In this article, the authors present the experience of the University of Michigan BIRCWH program including a practical approach to dealing with the challenges and opportunities of interdisciplinary research training. Scholars are mentored not only by their primary research advisor, but by a three person mentor team as well as by their peers. All scholars and a core of supportive faculty meet regularly to discuss interdisciplinary research career development and approaches to apply knowledge in new ways. Of the original cohort of 10 scholars at the University of Michigan, 7 have achieved independent research funding. Challenges include arranging times to meet, developing a common language and knowledge base, dealing proactively with expectations and misunderstandings, focusing on a conceptual model, and providing timely feedback.
Mentorship is crucial for academic productivity and advancement for clinical and translational (CT) science faculty. However, little is known about the long-term effects of mentor training programs. The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Clinical and Translational Science Institute launched a Mentor Development Program (MDP) in 2007 for CT faculty. We report on an evaluation of the first three cohorts of graduates from the MDP. In 2010, all Mentors in Training (MITs) who completed the MDP from 2007 to 2009 (n=38) were asked to complete an evaluation of their mentoring skills and knowledge; all MITs (100%) completed the evaluation. Two-thirds of MDP graduates reported that they often apply knowledge, attitudes, or skills obtained in the MDP to their mentoring. Nearly all graduates (97%) considered being a mentor important to their career satisfaction. Graduates were also asked about the MDP’s impact on specific mentoring skills; 95% agreed that the MDP helped them to become a better mentor and to focus their mentoring goals. We also describe a number of new initiatives to support mentoring at UCSF that have evolved from the MDP. To our knowledge, this is the first evaluation of the long-term impact of a mentor training program for CT researchers.
The benefits of mentoring residents have been studied, but there is no research about mentoring new program directors. Program directors' responsibilities have become increasingly complicated, and they may not be adequately prepared for their role at the time of appointment without the benefit of mentoring that is specific to their new role.
To assess whether nephrology subspecialty program directors were specifically mentored and whether they felt prepared for the educational and administrative aspects of this role.
We conducted an electronic needs assessment survey of the nephrology subspecialty program directors through the American Society of Nephrology listserv for program directors.
The survey response rate was 42% (58 of 139). Of the respondents, 58% did not feel adequately prepared when they first became subspecialty program directors, and only 32% reported having formal or informal mentoring for the role. Individuals who had served as associate program directors (34%) were more likely to report mentoring than those who had not (P = .02). Eighty percent of respondents reported that mentoring from another nephrology program director would have been beneficial during their first several years.
This appears to be the first study specifically evaluating mentoring experiences relevant to the role of nephrology program director. As a result of this survey, the American Society of Nephrology Training Program Director Executive Committee recognized the need to provide opportunities for mentoring new nephrology program directors and formed a New Training Program Director Training and Mentoring Work Group to recommend initiatives for mentoring and training new program directors. Further investigation is needed to assess whether mentoring benefits subspecialty program directors and whether these findings can be generalized to other specialties and subspecialties.