Problem and background: In 1998, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) was selected as one of four National Centers of Leadership in Academic Medicine (NCLAM) to develop a structured mentoring program for junior faculty.
Method: Participants were surveyed at the beginning and end of the seven-month program, and one-four years after. The institution provided financial information. Four primary outcomes associated with participation in NCLAM were assessed: whether participants stayed at UCSD, whether they stayed in academic medicine, improved confidence in skills, and cost-effectiveness.
Results: Among 67 participants, 85% remained at UCSD and 93% in academic medicine. Their confidence in skills needed for academic success improved: 53% personal leadership, 19% research, 33% teaching, and 76% administration. Given improved retention rates, savings in recruitment was greater than cost of the program.
Conclusions: Structured mentoring can be a cost-effective way to improve skills needed for academic success and retention in academic medicine.