In today's complex and often highly competitive world of academic medicine, having a mentor or a team of mentors can mean the difference between success and failure. Mentorship can have an important influence on personal development, career guidance, career choice and research productivity, including publication and grant success. Mentoring can help to ensure success in a wide variety of situations, providing assistance in various ways:

  • How to ask the right research question
  • How to best design a new experiment
  • How to develop a clinical or educational program
  • How to find needed resources
  • By serving in the role of guide, coach, or ally, mentors can answer a mentee's questions as they arise, ensuring steady progress and completion of project milestones.
  • By serving in the role of advocate, a mentor can help a mentee navigate the terrain of academia in order to move forward professionally.
  • By providing knowledgeable and strategic advice, a mentor can serve to empower a junior faculty member or trainee to pursue an innovative opportunity. The interest and support of a mentor often provide the mentee with both the confidence and practical knowledge to undertake a new and exciting challenge. 

Further reading on mentoring:

Chopra V, Edelson DP, Saint S. JAMA. A PIECE OF MY MIND. Mentorship Malpractice. 2016 Apr 12;315(14):1453-4. 

Leier CV, Auseon AJ, Binkley PF. Selecting a mentor: a guide for residents, fellows, and young physicians. Am J Med. 2011 Oct;124(10):893-5. 

Lieberman D. How to Select a Mentor as a Trainee and Junior Faculty. Gastroenterology. 2016 Jul;151(1):17-9. 

Sambunjak D, Straus SE, Marusić A. Mentoring in academic medicine: a systematic review. JAMA. 2006 Sep 6;296(9):1103-15.

Vaughn V, Saint S, Chopra V. Mentee Missteps: Tales From the Academic Trenches. JAMA. 2017 Feb 7;317(5):475-476.