Peer mentorship can be more effective, accessible than traditional mentorship in academic medicine

July 23, 2020

AURORA, Colo. (July 23, 2020) - Peer mentorship is a critical and more accessible option for professional and personal growth than traditional mentor-mentee relationships, according to a new paper from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

The paper, published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine, finds that peer mentorship, especially in academic medicine, is more inclusive and accessible than traditional hierarchical relationships. Furthermore, the flexibility afforded by participating in peer mentorship groups transcends typical academic settings through online blogs and social media groups, which have become critical in the era of COVID19.

By examining the strengths and weaknesses of various mentorship models, including trainee programs, formal mentorship, grant-based training, ad-hoc relationships and social media groups, researchers have found that peer mentorship is better suited to foster success, including among underrepresented groups. This point is underscored by the success of the authors' own peer mentoring group on the Anschutz campus.

"We started our group because we felt that, as women in academic medicine, we really needed to support each other," says Melanie Cree-Green, lead author and associate professor of pediatrics-endocrinology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "Our group of eight women formed three years ago and meets every three weeks. In that time, we have had five promotions, major grant funding - and other positive career milestones that happened thanks in part to our support for one another," says Jill Kaar, co-author and associate professor of pediatrics-endocrinology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Success of these groups is contingent on the establishment of guidelines and rules to ensure members are all on the same page and discord is avoided. "There are ground rules: consistency in meeting, everything stays in confidence, accountability," says Kaar.

The importance of flexible peer-mentoring models has possibly never been more evident than during the Covid-19 pandemic. "The peer mentorship during the pandemic has been amazing," says Cree-Green. "A physician Facebook group that I belong to with a few thousand others in the U.S. has been 2-5 weeks ahead of what's in the news re COVID-related topics - sharing instructions on how to print ventilator splitters, heparin dosing, ventilator settings. Those groups just started booming, and they absolutely made a huge difference to patient care."

The paper provides a framework on how to establish guidelines, encouraging those in medical academia to seek support from other people to form a foundation for their careers. "Peer mentorship is a very different kind of mentoring than we're traditionally taught," says Cree-Green. "It can be very effective to communicate with and understand your peers, and we want to encourage people to form their own mentor groups, especially as things are changing so rapidly. It's not a new concept, but it's an underutilized one."
-end-
About the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus:

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is a world-class medical destination at the forefront of transformative science, medicine, education, and patient care. The campus encompasses the University of Colorado health professional schools, more than 60 centers and institutes, and two nationally ranked independent hospitals that treat more than two million adult and pediatric patients each year. Innovative, interconnected and highly collaborative, together we deliver life-changing treatments, patient care, professional training, and conduct world-renowned research. For more information, visit http://www.cuanschutz.edu.

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Related Academic Medicine Articles from Brightsurf:

Representation of female authors in family medicine academic journals is trending upward
After decades of underrepresentation in medicine, women are now entering many specialties in the United States, including family medicine, at higher rates than men.

Social networks can support academic success
Social networks have been found to influence academic performance: students tend to perform better with high-performers among their friends, as some people are capable of inspiring others to try harder, according to Sofia Dokuka, Dilara Valeyeva and Maria Yudkevich of the HSE University.

Peer mentorship can be more effective, accessible than traditional mentorship in academic medicine
Peer mentorship is a critical and more accessible option for professional and personal growth than traditional mentor-mentee relationships, according to a new paper from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Is COVID-19 widening the gender gap in academic medicine?
A new study finds that fewer women were first authors on COVID-19-related research papers published in the first half of this year.

Women underrepresented in academic hospital medicine leadership roles, study finds
Of academic hospital medicine programs, 79% are run by men, Johns Hopkins researchers report in a new paper published March 3 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, and male hospitalist leaders are more likely to have attained the rank of full professor than women leaders.

Academic emergency departments are always open to all who need care
''Academic emergency departments never deny emergency care to any person.'' That is the statement put forth in a commentary from the Board of Directors of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine and the Senior Editorial Board of Academic Emergency Medicine journal.

Women paid less than men even at highest levels of academic medicine, study finds
Women who chair clinical departments at public medical schools are paid an average of 88 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, or about $70,000 to $80,000 less per year, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and UC San Francisco report.

NUS Medicine researchers can reprogramme cells to original state for regenerative medicine
Scientists from NUS Medicine have found a way to induce totipotency in embryonic cells that have already matured into pluripotency.

Study busts 9 to 5 model for academic work
An observational study of academic working hours has identified large differences in how researchers around the world manage their work-life balance.

Women have substantially less influence on Twitter than men in academic medicine
Women who are health policy or health services researchers face a significant disparity in social media influence compared to their male peers, according to a new study.

Read More: Academic Medicine News and Academic Medicine Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.