Peer mentoring program offers faculty opportunities to learn, network

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Department of Medicine's Faculty Peer Mentoring Program will be picking up in 2013. The program is a great way for faculty to learn about resources at Duke and gain helpful insight from peers.

The Faculty Peer Mentoring Program, which consists of groups for junior faculty, clinical educators, clinical researchers, basic science researchers, administrators and midcareer researchers, offers monthly seminars for faculty on relevant topics and gives faculty opportunities to get feedback and mentorship from peers.

Cathleen Colon-Emeric, MD, associate professor of medicine (Geriatrics), said the idea for the program came from a desire to improve mentorship in the department. At the time, Colon-Emeric was serving as the chair of the Program for Women in Internal Medicine.

"One of the perceived needs that people were telling us informally was that they felt that they didn't have chances to meet their peers across divisions, learn from their experiences and the professional development programs that others had been involved in, and be able to share common problems and work on solutions together," she said.

The groups have been meeting for almost two years and attendance varies. Colon-Emeric says anyone who is interested in a session held by one of the faculty mentorship groups is welcome to attend.

Colon-Emeric organized the groups by career track and level of experience, but she says those distinctions shouldn't prevent faculty from attending sessions that sound interesting.

"Faculty come to sessions that are interesting to them or that they've been involved in setting up and that could be across groups," she said. "They might go to the junior faculty group or the basic science group, if that's what's applicable to them. If the clinician educator group is having something interesting, they might go to that, too."

Faculty should feel welcome to suggest topics and to share information during group meetings.

This is a great untapped resource that a lot of faculty would benefit from, Colon-Emeric said. Folks who have been coming seem to love it, but we're only hitting a small fraction of Department of Medicine faculty.

She hopes faculty take advantage of peer mentoring groups so they can get to know and network with people across the department who are doing similar work and could be potential collaborators. Colon-Emeric also wants faculty to be aware of resources at Duke, like a past session by Duke Human Resource's Learning and Organizational Development on how to negotiate and how to interview or a recent Basic Science Peer Mentoring session on resources for researchers at Duke. She also hopes faculty feel supported by the department in many ways, by the leadership, by their mentors and by their peers.

On Feb. 7, faculty peer mentoring will host John Whited, MD, MHS, ACOS for Research at Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital in Columbia, Mo. Future events include a session for educators focused on how to use Maestro Care in teachers. Keep an eye on MedicineNews for event details.

If you have a topic idea or would like to get involved, please contact Cathleen Colon-Emeric (cathleen.colonemeric@duke.edu) or Susan Gurley (susan.gurley@duke.edu), MD, PhD, associate vice chair for diversity and chair of the Program for Women in Internal Medicine.

You can also get in touch directly with a peer mentoring group leader:

Basic Science: Jennifer Ingram and Susan Gurley
Clinical Educator: Lynn Bowlby and Rick Wood
Clinical Research: Manal Abdelmalek
Junior Faculty: Jessica Chia and Steve Choi
Leader/Administrator: Momen Wahidi
Midcareer Research: Corinne Voils and Will Yancy