, Volume 20, Issue 11, pp 1014-1018

Mentorship in academic general internal medicine

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BACKGROUND: Effective mentorship is crucial to career development. Strategies to improve the availability of mentors include mentoring multiple mentees at once, compensating mentors, comentoring, and long-distance mentoring.

OBJECTIVE: To describe current trends in mentorship in general Internal Medicine (GIM).

METHODS: We conducted a national cross-sectional web-based survey of GIM mentors, GIM fellowship directors, and GIM National Institutes of Health K24 grant awardees to capture their experiences with mentoring, including compensation for mentorship, multiple mentees, comentorship, and long-distance mentorship. We compared experiences by mentorship funding status, faculty type, academic rank, and sex.

RESULTS: We collected data from 111 mentors (77% male, 54% full professors, and 68% clinician-investigators). Fifty-two (47%) received funding for mentorship. Mentors supervised a median (25th percentile, 75th percentile) of 5 (3, 8) mentees each, and would be willing to supervise a maximum of 6 (4, 10) mentees at once. Compared with mentors without funding, mentors with funding had more current mentees (mean of 8.3 vs 5.1, respectively; P<.001). Full professors had more current mentees than associate or assistant professors (8.0 vs 5.9 vs 2.4, respectively; P=.005). Ninety-four (85%) mentors had experience comentoring, and two-thirds of mentors had experience mentoring from a distance. Although most mentors found long-distance mentoring to be less demanding, most also said it is less effective for the mentee and is personally less fulfilling.

CONCLUSIONS: Mentors in GIM appear to be close to their mentorship capacity, and the majority lack funding for mentorship. Comentoring and long-distance mentoring are common.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Funding Sources: Dr. Tsevat and Dr. Phillips are supported by Midcareer Investigator Awards from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, grant #s K24 AT001676 (Tsevat) and K24 AT00589 (Phillips). Dr. Mangione is partially funded by the UCLA Resource Center for Minority Aging Research, National Institute on Aging grant #AG21864. Dr. Chin is partially funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program (grant #027149) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Diabetes Research and Training Center (grant #P60 DK20595). Dr. Bell is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars Program (grant #45455).