Outcomes of a Peer Mentoring Circle: An Innovation to Improve Academic Physician Career Advancement in a Community Hospital Setting

Acad Med. 2023 Feb 1;98(2):214-218. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000005043. Epub 2022 Oct 25.


Problem: Faculty retention is a prominent topic in academic medicine. Investment in faculty career development supports faculty vitality, advancement, and retention. Academic physicians in community-based settings far from their academic affiliate may find identifying local career advancement mentorship challenging.

Approach: In June 2018, a career advancement in-service day at The Children's Hospital of San Antonio and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston was convened to design a peer mentoring circle (PMC). Using self-determination theory, this program aimed to help PMC members develop goals; schedule and attend regular meetings; format, review, and critique member curricula vitae and portfolios; and hold one another accountable to submitting award and promotion applications.

Outcomes: Eleven inaugural PMC cohort members attended regular monthly meetings from July 2018 to June 2019 (median, 6 members per meeting). All members were competent in accessing the PMC repository of materials. Statistically significant improvement ( P < .01) was seen in self-reported knowledge and skills relevant to award or academic promotion support and resources. Compared with no patient care or teaching awards and 1 academic promotion among non-PMC faculty, 5 PMC members (45.5%) earned a patient care award, 4 (36.4%) earned a teaching award, and 5 of 10 faculty members (50.0%) achieved academic promotion ( P < .001 for all). On the retrospective pre-post survey, members endorsed several PMC strengths, including personal and emotional support, professional support, and accountability.

Next steps: Next steps include establishing a local faculty development office, convening a second cohort, revising evaluation methods, expanding membership, and offering 1-on-1 career counseling. Community-based academicians who aim to replicate this program should organize a career advancement and faculty development in-service day, identify local faculty members to manage meetings, retain a repository of resources, set deadlines and hold one another accountable to them, and celebrate achievements and support one another in failure.

MeSH terms

  • Career Mobility
  • Child
  • Faculty, Medical / psychology
  • Hospitals, Community
  • Humans
  • Mentoring* / methods
  • Mentors
  • Physicians*
  • Retrospective Studies