Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


Search This Site

Journal Club

Lean on me

A Facilitated Peer Mentoring Program for Junior Faculty to Promote Professional Development and Peer networking.  Fleming GM et al.  Academic Medicine 90: 819-826.

Reviewed by Janet Meller

What was the study question?
Would a faculty development program designed to provide a skill development curriculum and mentorship experience to junior faculty improve their early career advancement skills and provide a career mentoring network?

How was the study done?
The Department of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University conducted a needs assessment and focus groups to determine that junior faculty desired support in the areas of mentorship and advancement in academics. Faculty members were was recruited for a small group faculty development program; the curriculum covered creating a professional portfolio, goal development, mentorship, negotiation, defining scholarly activity, time management, navigating departmental politics and leadership attributes. Groups, consisting of 8-10 junior faculty members with a senior facilitator met once/month over a 19 month period. Participants were surveyed at the beginning and end of the program to rate confidence in their ability to problem solve in professional development and scholarship and to rate confidence in their ability to write and align activities with career goals. They were also asked to list people in the department to whom they felt connected and who provided resources in the domains of scholarship and professional development. Multivariate statistical analysis was performed on the areas of interest.

What were the results?
Forty-five percent of junior faculty members enrolled in the program. Mentorship and professional development scores significantly increased over the study period, with female faculty demonstrating a greater median score change. Participants reported increased ability to write and align career goals and activities and an increase in the nonclinical time spent and activities pursued related to addressing career goals. Departmental data demonstrate an increase in faculty retention during the study period and emerging and existing faculty leaders were identified.

What are the implications?
The development of career goals and alignment of activities with these goals is felt to be a significant step in faculty development. Providing a peer network of support along with a specific faculty mentor may aid in this process along with creating increased departmental interconnectedness.


Editor’s note: This is an excellent example of an organized approach to improving junior faculty comfort and confidence in their ability to succeed in academic medicine. This is particularly important in this time of stress and change in academic medical centers, with faculty members feeling like it is becoming impossible to succeed in academics with the increased demands for clinical productivity (LL).


Return to Journal Club