The Medicine Endeavor to Nurture Trainees to Research Success (MENTORS) program is a Department of Medicine initiative to help research fellows maximize the opportunities of their research time.

Who Is It For?

All fellows in the Department of Medicine interested in research, including basic, clinical, translational, and health services research, are eligible. While the program is designed for fellows on a research track, we welcome fellows in their clinical year as their time permits. Participation during the clinical year before research time begins can prepare fellows to "hit the ground running" when they begin their research time, for instance by helping them identify mentors and develop ideas for research projects.

View Current and Prior Participants

The MENTORS program provides fellows at Duke with a comfortable setting to develop professionally and interact with trainees from other disciplines engaged in research. It has been a great opportunity to receive valuable feedback from those less familiar with my research, and to learn from my peers’ ongoing research efforts in other specialties.

Robert Olivo, MD, Nephrology Fellow

I liked meeting with the faculty mentors because they bridged the gaps in my current program. These meetings helped me feel attached and that I had some guidance during the year. Class of 2018 Participant

What Does It Include?

The MENTORS program includes a Professional Development seminar series (group-based discussions led by a senior faculty member), Work-In-Progress presentations by the fellows with faculty and peer feedback, and meetings with the Directors of the MENTORS program to evaluate progress, goals and the mentor relationship. The Director, Deborah Fisher, MD, MHS, and the Co-Director, John Williams, MD, are established independent investigators with very strong mentorship records and leadership roles in fellowship programs.

The seminars and Work-In-Progress meetings are 60-90 minutes from approximately September through May, currently on Mondays at 4 p.m. The seminars are on a two-year cycle and there is a list of topics here. Fellows also have the opportunity to present a Work-In-Progress (WIP) once during an academic year for practice and feedback on content and presentation. Participation in WIP meetings, both as a presenter and as an audience member providing peer feedback is a critical component of MENTORS.

Topics as a 2-year Curriculum

In addition, each fellow meets one-to-one with the Directors twice per year, in the fall and spring, to discuss progress towards short and long term goals, the primary mentor and mentorship team, and any questions or concerns about their research or career trajectory. The meeting and suggestions are summarized by the Directors and shared with the fellow, Division Fellowship Program Director, and the Division Chief. Fellows, Fellowship Directors and Chiefs have consistently reported the value of the meetings and summaries.

The MENTORS program is an excellent tool that a fellow can use to beneficially augment their translational research experience while at Duke and beyond.  The faculty have significantly helped me to be set up for academic success.    

Jeremy Force, D.O., Hematology/Oncology Fellow

1:1 meeting with Drs. Fisher and Williams was the best part of MENTORS for me. It held my mentors and myself accountable for my career goals. Class of 2018 Participant

What MENTORS Does Not Include

To avoid duplication with other programs, MENTORS does not provide instruction in research methodology, research ethics, clinical expertise in any specific content area, study design, statistics, grant writing, or manuscript preparation. We also do not provide internal review of grants. Each of these areas is covered either by the divisions' fellowship curricula or through other resources. The MENTORS Directors maintain a list of these resources, compiled by Heather Whitson, MD, both in the Department of Medicine and the School of Medicine, available here, and will continually inform fellows about such opportunities.

Additionally, MENTORS is providing information to fellows interested in the VA Health Administration Health Services Research and Development Career Development Award Program. Click here to read the evaluation report and view a five-part series that provides guidance on applying for VA HSRD CDA.

I already had a fantastic research mentor and initially was not sure how much additional benefit the MENTORS program would provide. However, participating in the MENTORS program (especially the individual meetings) taught me how to take a step back, refresh my short-term and long-term career goals, learn how to maintain current professional relationships and how to network, and gain a better perspective on balancing clinical and research responsibilities. Overall, the program was a "bonus" to my research training.

Vaishali Patel, MD, Gastroenterology Fellow

The WIP was a great avenue to practice presentations with peers, and also get feedback from colleagues not in my field. Class of 2018 Participant

How Do I Join?

An introductory email is sent to all Department of Medicine fellows at the beginning of the academic year. Please respond to this letter with your intention to participate. Fellows who indicate their interest in participating will be sent an email survey regarding availability. Every attempt is made to choose a time that is available to the most participants.

If you do not receive the email or have any questions, please email or

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Click here to review MENTORS resources and documents.


Deborah Fisher, MD, MHS
Director, MENTORS
Associate Professor of Medicine

John Williams, MD
Co-Director, MENTORS
Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Current Cohort

Name Fellowship Program

Charles Burns

Infectious Diseases

Bennett Caughey


Molly Daughety


Jashalynn German


Danny Guidot

Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine

Nathan Hawkey


Irma Husain


Dima Ibrahim

Infectious Diseases

Christopher Leo


Mithu Maheswaranathan

Rheumatology and Immunology

Matthew Makowski

Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine

Matthew McCravy

Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine

Shanti Narayanasamy

Infectious Diseases

G. Titus Ngeno

Cardiovascular Disease

Robert Pease

Infectious Diseases

Robert Rolfe

Infectious Diseases

Catherine Sims

Rheumatology and Immunology

Matthew Sinclair


Caroline Sloan

General Internal Medicine

Diana Soliman


Aaron Vose

Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine

Sofia Zavala

Infectious Diseases

Prior Participants

Name (Class of 2019) Division
Brian Andonian Rheumatology
Mina Boazak Clinical Informatics Fellow
Landon Brown Hematology-Oncology
Emily Eichenberger Infectious Diseases
Candace Haddox Hematology-Oncology
Kristin Hlebowitsh Geriatrics
Irma Husain Nephrology
Amarpreet Kaur Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine
Howard Lee Gastroenterology
Alexandra Lee Geriatrics
Jessica Ma Health Services Research & Women's Health
Matthew Makowski Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine
William McManigle Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine
Ije Okereke Nephrology
Robert Rolfe Infectious Diseases
Nicole Sagalla Endocrinology
Matthew Sinclair Nephrology
Julie Steinbrink Infectious Diseases
Nur banu Tatar Nephrology
Tainayah Thomas  
Name (Class of 2018) Division
Anastasia-Stefania Alexopoulos Endocrinology
Daniel Blalock Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Bridgette Christopher Cardiovascular Diseases
Jillian Clements  
Tzu-Hao Lee Gastroenterology
Allison Lewinski Research Assistant, PhD student
Jessica Ma Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Neelima Navuluri Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine
Charity Oyedeji Hematology-Oncology
Samantha Parker Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine
Matthew Sinclair Nephrology
Caroline Sloan  
Julie Steinbrink Infectious Diseases
Brian Sullivan Gastroenterology
Aaron Vose Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine
Name (Class of 2017) Division
Christine Bates Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine
Dan Blalock VA HSR&D
Bridgette Christopher Cardiovascular Disease
Emily Clausen Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine
Ahmad Farooq Gastroenterology
Jaime Hughes VA HSR&D
Shekeab Jauhari Hematology-Oncology
Allison Lewinski VA HSR&D
Joseph Lunyera General Internal Medicine
Melissa Makar Nephrology
Ko Ko Maung Hematology-Oncology
Neelima Navuluri Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine
Gedion Ngeno Cardiovascular Disease
Megan Shepherd-Banigan VA HSR&D
Brian Sullivan Gastroenterology
Name (Class of 2016) Division
Anubha Agarwal IM Residency Program
Bridgette Christopher Cardiovascular Disease
Jeremy Force Hematology-Oncology
Marion Hemersbach-Miller Infectious Diseases
Rebecca Herbst Endocrinology
Benjamin Heyman Hematology-Oncology
Jaime Hughes Other
Melissa Makar Nephrology
Laura Musselwhite Hematology-Oncology
Rob Olivo Nephrology
Daniel Parker Geriatrics
Yuval Patel Gastroenterology
Megan Shepherd-Banigan Other
Andrew Strand Infectious Diseases

Shannon Taylor

Onala Telford Endocrinology
Carol Traynor Nephrology

 Two-year Curriculum

Introduction to the Program/Social Event
Your 2-year Career Plan
Getting the Most out of your Mentoring Relationship: How to be a Good Mentee and What to Expect from Your Mentor(s)
Habits to Cultivate for Effective Writing
Reviewing Manuscripts for Journals: When, Why and How?
Crucial Conversations
Team Science: Working with/managing Diverse Groups; Running Meetings Effectively
Getting a Job-Session 1: How to Give a Job Talk, Start-up Packages, Preparing for Interviews and Evaluating Opportunities/Offers
Getting a Job-Session 2: Preparing Your CV
Letters of recommendation
Time Management
Networking: How to Self-promote in an Acceptable Manner and Making the Most Out of National Meetings
Taking care of yourself: Mindfulness, Stress relief
Data visualization:  Resources at Duke, Top 5 Most Common Problems Encountered, and Solutions to These Problems

I already had a mentor and research project planned before coming to Duke, but it was very helpful to have objective and supportive mentors outside my division. The lecturers were thought leaders at Duke and are great for new (or returning) fellows. The best part was having the opportunity to give a WIP presentation outside of my lab, division and group — it allowed me to refine my presentation for the next round.

Reilly Coch, MD, Endocrinology Fellow