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.
"A number of programs have focused on improving the quality of mentoring through systematic mentor training [9-12]. Although the findings of these training programs are encouraging, we argue that mentoring as a construct is limited for four main reasons. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Approaches to training biomedical scientists have created a talented research community. However, they have failed to create a professional workforce that includes many racial and ethnic minorities and women in proportion to their representation in the population or in PhD training. This is particularly true at the faculty level. Explanations for the absence of diversity in faculty ranks can be found in social science theories that reveal processes by which individuals develop identities, experiences, and skills required to be seen as legitimate within the profession.
Using the social science theories of Communities of Practice, Social Cognitive Career Theory, identity formation, and cultural capital, we have developed and are testing a novel coaching-based model to address some of the limitations of previous diversity approaches. This coaching intervention (The Academy for Future Science Faculty) includes annual in-person meetings of students and trained faculty Career Coaches, along with ongoing virtual coaching, group meetings and communication. The model is being tested as a randomized controlled trial with two cohorts of biomedical PhD students from across the U.S., one recruited at the start of their PhDs and one nearing completion. Stratification into the experimental and control groups, and to coaching groups within the experimental arms, achieved equal numbers of students by race, ethnicity and gender to the extent possible. A fundamental design element of the Academy is to teach and make visible the social science principles which highly influence scientific advancement, as well as acknowledging the extra challenges faced by underrepresented groups working to be seen as legitimate within the scientific communities.
The strategy being tested is based upon a novel application of the well-established principles of deploying highly skilled coaches, selected and trained for their ability to develop talents of others. This coaching model is intended to be a complement, rather than a substitute, for traditional mentoring in biomedical research training, and is being tested as such.
BMC Medical Education 08/2014; 14(1):160. DOI:10.1186/1472-6920-14-160 · 1.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite consensus that mentorship is a critical determinant of career success, many academic health centers (AHCs) do not provide formal training for their mentors. In part, this problem arises from a lack of evidence-based mentorship training curricula. In this issue of Academic Medicine, Pfund and colleagues from 16 AHCs, including 15 Clinical Translational Science Award institutions report the results of a randomized, controlled trial that addressed this research gap. In their study, mentors randomized to undertake a formal mentoring curriculum reported significant gains in self-assessed competencies. These improvements were corroborated by the most critical and objective observers of mentorship skills: their own mentees.Evidence-based curricula will not transform research mentorship in isolation. An organization-wide culture of mentorship is necessary to meet the mentorship needs of all research trainees and faculty. The development of a culture of mentorship requires attention to structural issues such as the provision of protected time, physical resources, and targeted funding in addition to evidence-based curricula. Organizations must monitor the implementation of these structures in the day-to-day process of mentorship. Finally, institutions must develop measures to track outcomes for both mentors and mentees, and create incentives to achieve those outcomes. In the current environment of constrained research funding and competing demands from clinical and educational programs, a substantive organizational commitment to mentorship is necessary to ensure that the next generation of mentees achieves success in translational research.
Academic medicine: journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 03/2014; 89(5). DOI:10.1097/ACM.0000000000000205 · 2.93 Impact Factor
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