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Acad Med. 2017 Feb;92(2):214-221. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001330.

Team Mentoring for Interdisciplinary Team Science: Lessons From K12 Scholars and Directors.

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J.-M. Guise is vice provost, Academic Career Development and Mentorship, and professor, Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Emergency Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon. S. Geller is G. William Arends Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Center for Research on Women and Gender, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois. J.G. Regensteiner is professor, Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Cardiology and the Center for Women's Health Research, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado. N. Raymond is professor, Department of Psychiatry, Powell Center for Women's Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota. J. Nagel is medical officer, Division of Clinical Innovation, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.



Mentoring is critical for academic success. As science transitions to a team science model, team mentoring may have advantages. The goal of this study was to understand the process, benefits, and challenges of team mentoring relating to career development and research.


A national survey was conducted of Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) program directors-current and former scholars from 27 active National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded BIRCWH NIH K12 programs-to characterize and understand the value and challenges of the team approach to mentoring. Quantitative data were analyzed descriptively, and qualitative data were analyzed thematically.


Responses were received from 25/27 (93%) program directors, 78/108 (72%) current scholars, and 91/162 (56%) former scholars. Scholars reported that team mentoring was beneficial to their career development (152/169; 90%) and research (148/169; 88%). Reported advantages included a diversity of opinions, expanded networking, development of stronger study designs, and modeling of different career paths. Challenges included scheduling and managing conflicting opinions. Advice by directors offered to junior faculty entering team mentoring included the following: not to be intimidated by senior mentors, be willing to navigate conflicting advice, be proactive about scheduling and guiding discussions, have an open mind to different approaches, be explicit about expectations and mentors' roles (including importance of having a primary mentor to help navigate discussions), and meet in person as a team.


These findings suggest that interdisciplinary/interprofessional team mentoring has many important advantages, but that skills are required to optimally utilize multiple perspectives.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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