Career Development Institute with Enhanced Mentoring: A Revisit
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The need for innovative methods to promote training, advancement, and retention of clinical and translational investigators in order to build a pipeline of trainees to focus on mental health-relevant research careers is pressing. The specific aim of the Career Development Institute for Psychiatry is to provide the necessary skill set and support to a nationally selected broad-based group of young psychiatrists and PhD researchers to launch and maintain successful research careers in academic psychiatry. The program targets such career skills as writing, negotiating, time management, juggling multiple demanding responsibilities, networking, project management, responsible conduct of research, and career goal setting. The current program builds on the previous program by adding a longitudinal, long-distance, virtual mentoring, and training program, seen as integral components to sustaining these career skills.
Career development activities occur in four phases over a 24-month period for each annual class of up to 18 participants: online baseline career and skills self-assessment and goal setting, preparations for 4-day in-person workshop, long-distance structured mentoring and online continued learning, peer-mentoring activities, and post-program career progress and process evaluation. Program instructors and mentors consist of faculty from the University of Pittsburgh and Stanford University as well as successful past program graduates from other universities as peer mentors.
A comprehensive website facilitates long-distance activities to occur online. Continued training occurs via webinars every other month by experts discussing topics selected for the needs of each particular class. Personally assigned mentors meet individually bimonthly with participants via a secure web-based “mentor center” that allows mentor dyads to collaborate, share, review, and discuss career goals and research activities.
Preliminary results after the first 24 months are favorable. Almost uniformly, participants felt the program was very helpful. They had regular contact with their long-distance mentor at least every 2 months over the 2-year period. At the end of the 2-year period, the majority of participants had full-time faculty appointments with K-award support and very few were doing primarily clinical work.
The longitudinal program of education, training, mentoring, peer support, and communications for individuals making the transition to academic research should increase the number of scientists committed to research careers in mental health.
KeywordsCareer development Careers in psychiatry Academic careers
The authors would like to thank Megan DeBertrand for her efforts in the success of the Career Development Institute
Research reported in this publication was supported in part by the National Institutes of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R25MH09047. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
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