Early career mentoring through the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology: Lessons learned from a pilot program

Badawy, S. M.; Black, V.; Meier, E. R.; Myers, K. C.; Pinkney, K.; Hastings, C.; Hilden, J. M.; Zweidler-McKay, P.; Stork, L. C.; Johnson, T. S.; Vaiselbuh, S. R.

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2016 Sep 13; 64(3)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Effective networking and mentorship are critical determinants of career satisfaction and success in academic medicine. The American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO) mentoring program was developed to support Early Career (EC) members. Herein, the authors report on the initial 2-year outcomes of this novel program. PROCEDURE: Mentees selected mentors with expertise in different subspecialties within the field from mentor profiles at the ASPHO Web site. Of 23 enrolled pairs, 19 mentors and 16 mentees completed electronic program feedback evaluations. The authors analyzed data collected between February 2013 and December 2014. The authors used descriptive statistics for categorical data and thematic analysis for qualitative data. RESULTS: The overall response rate was 76% (35/46). At the initiation of the relationship, career development and research planning were the most commonly identified goals for both mentors and mentees. Participants communicated by phone, e-mail, or met in-person at ASPHO annual meetings. Most mentor-mentee pairs were satisfied with the mentoring relationship, considered it a rewarding experience that justified their time and effort, achieved their goals in a timely manner with objective work products, and planned to continue the relationship. However, time constraints and infrequent communications remained a challenge. CONCLUSIONS: Participation in the ASPHO mentoring program suggests a clear benefit to a broad spectrum of ASPHO EC members with diverse personal and professional development needs. Efforts to expand the mentoring program are ongoing and focused on increasing enrollment of mentors to cover a wider diversity of career tracks/subspecialties and evaluating career and academic outcomes more objectively.

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