The Department of Population Medicine (DPM) strives to create the best environment for its staff, fellows, faculty, and leadership to continuously provide and benefit from outstanding mentorship. Since its inception, the DPM has evolved an active internal mentoring program through multiple processes.
The Department has a strong tradition of mentorship to support professional and personal development at all stages of career development. Our early career faculty have participated in programs to empower mentees and our senior faculty in mentoring leadership programs. Faculty have received multiple honors for excellence in mentoring, including the prestigious Young Mentor Award and the A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award from Harvard Medical School, the Faculty Mentoring Award from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Everett Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Graduate Student Council, and the Mentor Scholar Award from the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.
Each student, fellow, research scientist, and faculty member is paired with a primary mentor who provides career guidance and personal support to the mentee and facilitates the mentee’s connections within and beyond the DPM. The primary mentor gives a summary of the mentee’s progress and seeks input for advising the mentee at the annual review.
All staff are welcome and encouraged to work with human resources or their supervisor to identify a mentor within the department. Staff are also encouraged to apply for the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Mentoring Advantage Program. This is an annual program that offers mentoring relationships across the company to inspire employees to contribute to their own and others' personal and professional growth and development.
With the annual review, mentoring at the DPM moves beyond the traditional one-to-one mentoring model and establishes a culture of mentoring that engages the entire faculty. The process highlights the importance of mentorship and demonstrates to all the value that senior leadership and the entire faculty place on supporting each member’s successful development. During the annual day-long review meeting, all faculty members at higher ranks provide suggestions for advancing the colleague’s career, address readiness for promotion, and identify needs that should be met to facilitate the person’s success. The DPM’s approach to mentoring was recognized with the HMS Program Award for Culture of Excellence in Mentoringand identified as a model process during an external review of the department. It has been described in detail in a recent publication.
Complementing the annual review are an annual self-report prepared by each faculty member and a 360 review process in which faculty members or their designated mentors seek constructive anonymous feedback from colleagues.
DPM faculty have established formal and ad-hoc structures to facilitate peer mentoring. Those include regular meetings of fellows, junior faculty, and women faculty and fellows; writing accountability groups; and strategy seminars on topics ranging from preparing a K-award application to effective presentation training.
Continuous evolution of the DPM’s mentoring culture
DPM leadership invites feedback on DPM members’ experiences in the Department and suggestions for improvements through all avenues, including the annual faculty review, peer mentoring groups, organizational climate surveys, surveys on existing mentoring and feedback structures, and needs assessments of staff and faculty at different levels. Tangible results of the multi-faceted program have included the establishment of funded departmental career development awards for both junior- and mid-career faculty (the Robert H. Ebert Faculty Development Awards); the creation by mid-career faculty of cross-departmental centers of excellence in areas in which DPM faculty lead research; the establishment of the Gordon Moore Excellence in Mentoring Award; and a research scientist mentoring program.