Mentors' perspectives on the successes and challenges of mentoring in the COG Young Investigator mentorship program: A report from the Children's Oncology Group

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2019 Oct;66(10):e27920. doi: 10.1002/pbc.27920. Epub 2019 Jul 16.


Background: Identification and development of young investigators (YI) is critical to the long-term success of research organizations. In 2004, the Children's Oncology Group (COG) created a mentorship program to foster the career development of YIs (faculty <10 years from initial appointment). This study sought to assess mentors' long-term assessment of this program.

Procedure: In 2018, 101 past or current mentors in the COG YI mentorship program completed an online survey. Statistical comparisons were made with the Kruskal-Walis test.

Results: The response rate was 74.2%. As some mentors had multiple mentees, we report on 138 total mentee-mentor pairs. Mentors were 57.4% male, and mentees were 39.1% male. Mentors rated being mentored as a YI as important with a median rating of 90 on a scale of 1-100, interquartile range (IQR) 80-100. Most mentors reported that being mentored themselves helped their own success within COG (78.2%) and with their overall career development (92.1%). Most mentors enjoyed serving in the program (72.3%) and the median success rating (on a scale of 1-100) across the mentor-mentee pairings was 75, IQR 39-90. Success ratings did not differ by mentor/mentee gender, but improved with increased frequency of mentor-mentee interactions (P < .001). Mentor-mentee pairs who set initial goals reported higher success ratings than those who did not (P < .001). Tangible successes included current mentee COG committee involvement (45.7%), ongoing mentor-mentee collaboration (53.6%), and co-authored manuscript publication (38.4%).

Conclusion: These data indicate that mentorship is important for successful professional development. Long-term mentoring success improves when mentors and mentees set goals upfront and meet frequently.

Keywords: Children's Oncology Group; career development; mentorship; pediatric oncology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Oncology*
  • Mentoring*
  • Mentors*
  • Program Evaluation