It is likely that you will need more than one mentor to help address your disparate needs: for example, one who is skilled at helping with research design may not be able to help you deal with a difficult colleague or balance home and professional demands and vice versa.
Common representation on clinical and translational research mentor teams:
- Research specialty (e.g. nephrology)
- Methodology (e.g. clinical trialist)
- Career Development (e.g. promotion, leadership, grant writing)
- Balance of basic/clinical/community/population health representation
Things to consider when building a team:
- Leverage multiple perspectives (MD, PhD, Epi, Community, Disciplines)
- Align strengths and expectations across the team
- Agree upon feedback timelines and mechanisms
- Articulate accountability
|IMPORTANT: In addition to a research mentor team, if mentees also have a departmental mentoring committee overseeing the mentee’s performance and promotion, it is helpful to have a formal mechanism to bridge these two groups. The home department may have different expectations of your mentee’s priorities and it is important for the two groups to work collaboratively in the best interest of their long-term development.
Teams vs Groups
Having multiple mentors does not mean that they are all functioning as a team. To help foster effective communication and collaboration, consider:
- Holding an annual conference call with the entire team, outlining the mentee’s goals and milestones for the upcoming year. Mentors can discuss the roles each will play and what support will be provided.
- Circulate a “mentor team profile” sheet to each member of the team. Include specialities and the functions they play on the team.