Repaving the road to academic success: the IMeRGE approach to peer mentoring

Acad Med. 2006 Jul;81(7):674-9. doi: 10.1097/01.ACM.0000232425.27041.88.


In recent years, academic health centers have made a considerable effort to encourage medical students and physicians-in-training to consider academic medicine as a career choice. For physicians, selecting a career in academic medicine may be the first hurdle, but the challenge of successfully maintaining an academic career is perhaps a more formidable task. Mentoring is a much-needed response to this challenge. But the success of traditional mentoring programs at academic institutions is often limited by, among other things, the availability of senior faculty who can serve as mentors. The authors describe the formation and organization of the Internal Medicine Research Group at Emory (IMeRGE), an innovative peer mentoring group within the Division of General Medicine at Emory University. This group, born partially out of the mentoring needs of our women and minority faculty, shared the primary goal of fostering a collaborative atmosphere among junior faculty, while simultaneously acquiring experience through advanced faculty development. The authors present our methods of garnering division support for designated time and financial resources, defining member responsibilities, developing a curriculum, providing peer support, and seeking advisors with expertise in the areas on which we wished to focus. In addition to the development of IMeRGE, the authors provide an overview of the pros and cons of traditional mentoring versus peer mentoring; discuss the challenges faced by IMeRGE and strategies for addressing these issues; and present the paradigm of IMeRGE as a template for alternative forms of academic mentorship.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Achievement
  • Faculty, Medical*
  • Female
  • Georgia
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / organization & administration*
  • Male
  • Mentors*
  • Peer Group
  • Problem-Based Learning / methods
  • Staff Development / standards*
  • Vocational Guidance