Background: In the United States, female physicians working in academic medical practices are less likely to achieve the academic rank of associate professor or professor than are male physicians of comparable seniority. Lack of mentoring has been suggested as a possible contributor to this difference.
Methods: In this paper, we describe a facilitated peer mentorship pilot program that was developed to meet the unique needs of women faculty. Experienced female physicians acted as facilitators to a group of junior women who served as their own peer mentors. Outcome measures for the program included comparison of a pretest and a posttest completed by the peer mentor participants, a skills acquisition survey, published papers, and academic advancement of participants.
Results: All the peer participants realized increased academic activity in the form of published papers and promotion in academic rank, skills acquisition, and enthusiasm for continuance of the program.
Conclusions: This new model of facilitated peer mentorship demonstrated success in a small-scale pilot program. Expansion of this program and other creative solutions to the lack of mentoring for women may result in greater numbers of women achieving academic advancement.