Department-Based Program Development Toolkit


Mission and Purpose of this Toolkit

This toolkit offers guidelines for establishing structured mentoring programs for members of academic or clinical units.  The guidelines address the steps and approaches to creating, sustaining and evaluation of such programs.  

Mentoring relationships have been commonplace in professional environments. In academic, clinical and research groups, mentoring is an essential factor contributing to successful training and professional advancement.

However, faculty cite lack of mentoring as prevalent in their experience: 98% of faculty in one study report “lack of mentoring” as the first or second most important “factor hindering career progress in academic medicine” (Jackson, et al. 2003, pg 328).  The same is also true among Stanford underrepresented faculty of color who reported lower quality of life experiences in relation to low quality of mentoring experiences (Quality of Life Survey Follow-up Study of Underrepresented Minority Faculty, 2014) and among many Stanford Medicine early career faculty (OAA Faculty Focus Groups, Spring 2019).

Successful mentoring is individualized and dependent on the interpersonal dynamics and match between mentors and mentees. Structured mentoring programs provide additional personalized experiences, and have shown to have significant impact in faculty success (See paper by Chen et. al. about the Stanford Pediatric Mentoring Program).

There are various models, structures, and formats for a mentoring program’s success.  There are also common components.  Developing a program vision and mission is the first step.  Sheri et. al. (2019) provided evidence from a meta analysis of 3585 abstracts, 232 full-text articles and 68 articles over 3 decades (1990-2017) that identified structure, content, outcomes and evaluation of mentor training programs as key topics.  Refer to the relevant sections of this toolkit for more discussion on each of these topics.

What is mentoring in medicine

For our purposes, we follow a definition of mentoring as a dynamic, collaborative, and collegial relationship that often comes with an end (though not necessarily pre-determined) and that is focused on an emerging faculty member’s acquisition of the values and attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary to develop into a successful independent researcher and/or clinician.