Mentoring Translational Science Investigators

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA.
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor: 30.39). 11/2012; 308(19):1981-2. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2012.14367
Source: PubMed
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  • Clinical and Translational Science 11/2014; DOI:10.1111/cts.12245 · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many students in bioengineering and medical physics doctoral programs plan careers in translational research. However, while such students generally have strong quantitative abilities, they often lack experience with the culture, communication norms, and practice of bedside medicine. This may limit students' ability to function as members of multidisciplinary translational research teams. To improve students' preparation for careers in cancer translational research, we developed and implemented a mentoring program that is integrated with students' doctoral studies and aims to promote competencies in communication, biomedical ethics, teamwork, altruism, multiculturalism, and accountability. Throughout the program, patient-centered approaches and professional competencies are presented as foundational to optimal clinical care and integral to translational research. Mentoring is conducted by senior biomedical faculty and administrators and includes didactic teaching, online learning, laboratory mini-courses, clinical practicums, and multidisciplinary patient planning conferences (year 1); student development and facilitation of problem-based patient cases (year 2); and individualized mentoring based on research problems and progress toward degree completion (years 3-5). Each phase includes formative and summative evaluations. Nineteen students entered the program from 2009 through 2011. On periodic anonymous surveys, the most recent in September 2013, students indicated that the program substantially improved their knowledge of cancer biology, cancer medicine, and academic medicine; that the mentors were knowledgeable, good teachers, and dedicated to students; and that the program motivated them to become well-rounded scientists and scholars. We believe this program can be modified and disseminated to other graduate research and professional health care programs.
    Journal of Cancer Education 03/2014; 29(4). DOI:10.1007/s13187-014-0627-9 · 1.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine whether a structured mentoring curriculum improves research mentoring skills. The authors conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) at 16 academic health centers (June 2010 to July 2011). Faculty mentors of trainees who were conducting clinical/translational research ≥50% of the time were eligible. The intervention was an eight-hour, case-based curriculum focused on six mentoring competencies. The primary outcome was the change in mentors' self-reported pretest to posttest composite scores on the Mentoring Competency Assessment (MCA). Secondary outcomes included changes in the following: mentors' awareness as measured by their self-reported retrospective change in MCA scores, mentees' ratings of their mentors' competency as measured by MCA scores, and mentoring behaviors as reported by mentors and their mentees. A total of 283 mentor-mentee pairs were enrolled: 144 mentors were randomized to the intervention; 139 to the control condition. Self-reported pre-/posttest change in MCA composite scores was higher for mentors in the intervention group compared with controls (P < .001). Retrospective changes in MCA composite scores between the two groups were even greater, and extended to all six subscale scores (P < .001). More intervention-group mentors reported changes in their mentoring practices than control mentors (P < .001). Mentees working with intervention-group mentors reported larger changes in retrospective MCA pre-/posttest scores (P = .003) and more changes in their mentors' behavior (P = .002) than those paired with control mentors. This RCT demonstrates that a competency-based research mentor training program can improve mentors' skills.
    Academic medicine: journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 03/2014; 89(5). DOI:10.1097/ACM.0000000000000218 · 3.47 Impact Factor