A View from the Former Chair

Mentoring is a key element in academic success and can take many forms, both formal and informal. The Department of Medicine has a strong commitment to and culture of mentoring and it is one of our top priorities.

Did you know?

The word “mentor” was inspired by a character in Homer’s Odyssey. While Odysseus  was off fighting in the Trojan War, he entrusted Mentor to serve as teacher and overseer of his son, Telemachus. The word now epitomizes a trusted advisor, friend, teacher and wise person.

We have an ongoing, successful mentorship program for residents; I’d now like to tell you about the recent steps we have taken to cultivate mentorship for junior faculty in the department.

Our goal is to provide a mentor for every junior faculty member.

DOM mentoring committee

In 2014, we established a DOM mentoring committee to improve the quality and consistency of mentorship in the department and to educate all faculty about the value and conduct of mentorship.

I would like to thank the members of this committee for their excellent work:
Ellen Schur (chair), Lydia Bryan, Thomas Hawn, John Inadomi, Andrew Luks, Karen McMasters, Chris Surawicz, Karen Svendsen, Anna Wald and Conrad Liles (ex officio member)

Mentorship survey

Following up on the mentoring committee’s work, a mentoring survey was conducted in October 2015 to assess existing level and interest in mentoring among faculty. I would like to thank Dr. Robb Glenny for his work leading this important project.

Summary of key results

  • 41 percent have a mentor (24 percent of these have more than one mentor)
  • 29 percent said they want mentoring, but are not currently being mentored
  • 48 percent of faculty are completely or moderately satisfied with current mentoring
  • Clinician/teachers and clinical faculty are the least satisfied with current mentoring
  • Career development is viewed as the most important mentoring need
  • Preference is for one-to-one mentoring and for a mentor to be assigned by leadership

Mentorship initiatives

Based on recommendations from the DOM Mentoring Committee, and in response to the mentoring survey results, we have implemented the following initiatives: 

  • Each junior faculty will be paired with a senior mentor
  • A mentor/mentorship team will be assigned at the time of initial appointment
  • Mentorship language will be incorporated in the offer letter
  • Leadership to discuss the mentor/mentee relationship during the annual review process
  • Individual Development Plan (IDP) for junior faculty (implemented in October 2014)
  • Mentorship lecture at Medicine Grand Rounds
  • Mentors will be recognized and rewarded for their mentoring

Mentorship lecture at Grand Rounds

We invited Dr. Mitchell Feldman from the University of California, San Francisco to speak at Grand Rounds on January 7, 2016. Dr. Feldman is the Associate Vice Provost of Faculty Mentoring at UCSF and he presented: “The value of mentoring: Building a program to support academic success and satisfaction.” 

Recognizing and cultivating mentors

In 2015 we established the Department of Medicine Mentorship awards to honor faculty members for their contributions to the scientific, education, and patient care missions of the Department of Medicine through exemplary mentorship. Two awards will be given annually: one for excellence in mentoring clinician/teachers and one for excellence in mentoring physician/scientists.

The inaugural winners were announced in December 2015. Dr. Matthew Golden received the award for excellence in mentoring physician/scientists, and Dr. Mark Tonelli received the award for excellence in mentoring clinician/teachers.


I and the department recognize that mentorship is critical to success across all phases of a faculty career in academic medicine. I am proud of our mentorship program and of our faculty. I will continue to support efforts to make this a great place to work and a place where our faculty can achieve both personal and career satisfaction and growth.