The impact of mentoring on early career faculty: Assessment of a virtual mentoring program.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Clinical Oncology


california; sjci


Background: Participation in mentorship programs for early career physicians may be crucial to developing key skills and professional networks to navigate racial, ethnic and gender leadership disparities in medicine. A 6-month virtual facilitated peer mentorship program was developed and piloted through the Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) Women & Diversity Committee. The evaluation of the program’s feasibility to positively impact early career physicians, investigators and trainees is presented here. Methods: We designed and conducted a virtual mentoring program pilot open to SNO’s multidisciplinary members in residency, fellowship, or early career phase, leveraging peer-mentoring sessions with mid-to late-career physician mentors. A curriculum with online resources was provided recommending groups meet for 6 sessions: 3 involving the mentor and 3 dedicated to peer-mentoring. Group assignments were based on time-zones and interests. Pre- and post-participation surveys assessed mentee experience. Descriptive statistics were used to assess participant demographics and survey results. Results: Our call for participation was broad; all 20 mentee applicants participated in 5 groups. Mentees were 90% women and 60% were from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Most were aged 31-40 (75%) and junior faculty (50%) in neuro-oncology (65%). The 5 senior mentors (3 men and 3 of diverse race and ethnic backgrounds) practiced either neuro-oncology (3), neurosurgery (1) or radiation oncology (1). The proportion who reporting having a signature lecture increased from 15% to 62% during the pilot. A large majority reported their participation was worthwhile (85%), that they would participate again (92%) and would recommend it to others (92%). Feedback themes included positive personal growth, peer support, networking and job opportunities, access to CV reviews, lack of and desire for late career female mentors, and virtual scheduling constraints. While the pilot was limited by several variables, it was timely to connect participants in Q3 of 2020 early in the COVID-19 global pandemic. The virtual meeting environment created a venue to share and discuss topics such as work-life balance, burnout, leading through change and social connection. Despite not achieving 100% professional concordance, participants found the experience worthwhile. The tools and curriculum of topics provided was implemented differently across groups, leading to varied experiences. Finally, we did not have 100% post pilot follow up despite multiple attempts limiting our complete understanding of the pilot. Conclusions: This virtual mentorship pilot program proved feasible and of value in development of early career women and diverse individuals. A resource toolkit has been designed to scale and diffuse.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)

Clinical Institute