Research Education and Careers in Health (REACH)


For Mentors and Mentees

Why Mentoring Matters for Mentees*

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. A recent systematic review of mentoring in academic medicine suggests that mentorship can have an important influence on personal development, career guidance, career choice and research productivity, including publication and grant success[1].  

  • Mentoring can help to ensure success in a wide variety of situations, including addressing questions such as:
  • 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, postdoc, or fellow 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. 

Click here for practical tools designed to help you become a more effective mentee/mentor.
Click here for articles about mentoring.

Why Mentoring Matters for Mentors*

In addition to providing support to junior faculty members, mentorship includes many benefits to Mentors as well.  For example,

  • Mentoring can enhance a mentor’s own personal and professional knowledge while teaching and learning from the mentee.
  • By providing guidance, support, advice, strategic feedback, and other insights to a mentee, the mentor can learn and enhance leadership skills.
  • Mentees often bring a fresh perspective to a difficult problem, and serving as a mentor can provide a renewed sense of purpose in meeting the challenges of leading an educational endeavor, clinical initiative or research program.
  • While working with a mentee, the mentor also has the opportunity to gain a new talented colleague –one with whom the mentor may collaborate for years to come. Importantly, a mentor is provided with a sense of satisfaction in contributing to a legacy of developing the next generation of creative faculty.

Click here for practical tools designed to help you become a more effective mentee/mentor.
Click here for articles about mentoring.

*This section adapted with permission from the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute at Oregon Health & Science University and the Institute for Clinical Research Education Mentoring Resources, University of Pittsburgh

Resources Available to Both Mentors and Mentees

While these benefits to mentors and mentees are far-reaching, there are also significant challenges that can stand in the way of providing and receiving high quality mentorship.  The resources available below are designed to help mentors and mentees identify and implement best practices as they work together in developing the next generation of independent researchers. 

Mentoring Tools

The following tools are designed to help students, postdocs, faculty, and academic professionals to become a more effective mentors/mentees.

A Strategy for Career Development Planning
The Academic Development Plan (ADP) is a nine-step strategy to plan for advancement in academic health careers process for more effective mentoring which was developed by Linda Pololi, senior scientist and resident scholar at Brandeis University Women's Studies Research Center in Massachusetts.
Used by permission from author.

Mentee Checklist
This checklist is a useful guide for mentees to "manage up" to create successful mentoring relationships. It can be found in the article Making the Most of Mentors: A Guide for Mentees, by Judy T. Zerzan, MD, MPH, Rachel Hess, MD, Ellen Schur, MD, Russell S. Phillips, MD, and Nancy Rigotti, MD (Academic Medicine, Vol 84, No.1, January 2009, 140-144).

Mentoring Checklist and Mentoring Plan
The Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Mentor Development Program (MDP) has developed a Mentoring Checklist of activities to guide mentor and mentee towards a mutual agreement. Click here to see the Sample Individual Mentoring Development Plan (IMDP). More information can be found about the UCSF Mentoring Program here.
Used by permission of CTSI at UCSF.

Mentoring Agreements
The Clinical and Translational Science Education Program of The Mayo Clinic CTSA has developed Initial Agreement and a Detailed Agreement tool which outline Expectations for the CTSA Scholar Mentoring Relationship. These can be found here along with other valuable information about the Mentoring Program at Mayo.

Developmental Network Map
This tool provides step-by-step instructions for developing a map of critical relationships.  Creating this map is useful in meetings with mentors as it can help determine who is missing from an individual’s support network.

Mentor Evaluation Form
This form may be useful in initially discussing expectations with your mentor/mentee, as well as when evaluating the quality of the mentor/mentee relationship.

Mentoring Articles

Click here for a listing of articles that provide background information, empirical data, and concrete advice about topics such as traditional mentoring, peer mentoring, mentoring networks, issues of gender and racial equity in mentoring, what department chairs can do to better support career development.

[1] Sambunjak D, Strauss SE, Marusie A. Mentoring in academic medicine: a systematic review. JAMA 2006;296:1103-1115.

Back to REACH Mentoring Program