Implementing and Evaluating a Mentor Training to Improve Support for Early-Career Scholars in Tobacco Regulatory Science

Nicotine Tob Res. 2020 May 26;22(6):1041-1045. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntz083.


Introduction: To implement and evaluate a blended online and in-person training to help mentors of early-career researchers appreciate the complexities of Tobacco Regulatory Science (TRS), refine TRS mentoring skills, and become acquainted with resources for providing effective guidance to TRS mentees.

Methods: TRS mentors engaged in a two-part pilot test of the training program. Authors evaluated both the online and in-person training using retrospective pre-post evaluations, which measure learning at the conclusion of a training program, and post-program focus groups. Twenty learners completed the online training, and 16 learners attended the in-person training module. Nine participants completed evaluations for the online module, and 12 participants completed evaluations for the in-person module.

Results: Program assessments revealed that participants found that the training achieved its overall goals. The majority of respondents (87.5%) rated the online portion of the training as valuable. For the in-person training, participants reported statistically significant improvements regarding confidence in: helping mentees to identify skills and training to effectively pursue TRS, assisting mentees in weighing career trajectories, and guiding mentees in conducting research responsive to TRS regulatory priorities.

Conclusions: The novel mentoring program was well received by faculty seeking to strengthen skills for mentoring early-career TRS researchers to navigate the complex landscape of TRS, explore diverse funding opportunities, and discern potential career trajectories. It provided unique content to address issues outside the traditional tobacco research training curriculum and offered specific information on regulatory policies, priorities, and opportunities.

Implications: This research documents the deployment and evaluation of a blended online and in-person training program for investigators mentoring early-career researchers working in TRS. Our assessment discovered that participants found the training to be valuable to their overall mentoring objectives. The training comprises a novel curriculum for investigators engaged in mentoring early-career researchers in a unique field, thus filling a deficit in the published literature by presenting a curriculum that has been customized to the unique needs of TRS mentors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum / standards*
  • Humans
  • Mentoring / methods*
  • Mentors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Research Personnel / economics
  • Research Personnel / education*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tobacco Industry / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Tobacco Smoking / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Tobacco Smoking / prevention & control
  • United States