Mentoring program for minority faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Acad Med. 1999 Apr;74(4):376-9. doi: 10.1097/00001888-199904000-00029.


Research indicates that having a faculty mentor and being part of an active network of peers are critical ingredients of successful academic medicine careers. Minority physicians, however, often do not have mentors, and the problem is greatest for minority groups underrepresented in medicine. The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1994-1996 undertook to learn the extent of mentoring programs in its departments and divisions and to compare the experiences of underrepresented-minority faculty and others. The results were used to establish a system for mentoring and networking support for minority faculty members. Examining the reports of division and department heads on their formal mentoring programs, it was clear that these leaders considered a mentor essential for career development, but many reported having no systematic plan for mentors for junior faculty. In looking at the reported experiences of minority and non-minority assistant professors (matched for promotion track, department, appointment date, and, where possible, gender), it was found that approximately half of either group did not have mentors. As a result of this information, the school established a faculty development program to meet the faculty members' demonstrated needs: annual career development meetings with new minority faculty; assistance in identifying and assigning mentors; assistance in developing research skills; and monitoring of the retention of minority faculty. As experience with the program produces additional insights into the needs of minority faculty--and particularly of junior faculty--the program will be adjusted and expanded to meet these identified needs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Faculty, Medical*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mentors*
  • Minority Groups*
  • Pennsylvania
  • Schools, Medical