Plugging the Leaky Pipeline: The Role of Peer Mentorship for Increasing Diversity

Pediatrics. 2022 Oct 1;150(4):e2021055925. doi: 10.1542/peds.2021-055925.


I arrived to my shift early, nervous about caring for critically ill patients as a first-year fellow. I sat in the workroom alone, paralyzed, not sure how to preround despite being months into fellowship. The senior fellow appeared minutes before sign-out; fresh, knowledgeable, and calm, despite her busy night and lack of sleep. She asked me how I was doing. With tears in my eyes, my emotions poured out. I explained that I felt lost, unsure of myself, my place, and my knowledge. For the first time, I confessed out loud, "I don't think I'm supposed to be here. I have no idea what I'm doing." I could trust her in a way I couldn't trust others. She was like me: othered by her identity, minoritized by society. Though different from my own, her identity allowed her to understand my own experiences. We were different from one another and we were also the same. Unlike the senior faculty, it was safe to talk to her. And, unlike my other cofellows, there was a kinship between us in our otherness. She looked at me, closed the door, and shared words of strength that I needed to hear. I belonged. I was more than enough. She shared that the pressure I was experiencing was common among systematically minoritized individuals; she too had felt it before. Sitting with her, I was finally seen, supported, and comforted. As a peer mentor from a minoritized background, she provided a sense of security and belonging that had not been provided in my training and was distinct from the support of senior faculty.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Faculty*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mentors*
  • Peer Group
  • Sleep