On October 3, IAPHS launched a program to match population health scientists with mentors who can help them navigate career challenges. IAPHS will be piloting this program for the coming year, and we invite you to sign up – as a mentor or mentee – on the Mentoring Program webpage.
Mentoring may touch on a wide range of issues affecting population health scientists. Examples include help with grantsmanship or getting published, the challenges of interdisciplinarity, being a scientist in nonacademic settings, navigating issues of marginalization associated with minority status, academic promotions and transitions, and creating partnerships outside academia. You can see more topics here. There are no constraints on the topics that mentors and mentees can agree to cover.
“For me it’s the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping younger people launch their careers and watching them succeed. Seeing my mentees go from one phase of their career to another; helping them become independent thinkers and build confidence as they move forward. It’s a great feeling.”
– Current Mentor
Individuals at any career stage may become a mentor or mentee. Early- and mid-career individuals can often give great advice because they have recently experienced a transition or challenge, and senior scientists provide wisdom gained in a long career. Likewise, people can benefit from mentoring at any career stage. Only IAPHS members can participate as mentees.
Mentors will be the backbone of this program. Being a mentor takes time, but it is a deeply rewarding way to contribute to population health science. It builds fruitful relationships that, for many, bring new insights and ideas to their work. Most importantly, it offers the satisfaction of making a difference in the career of a next generation scientist. IAPHS is establishing a new Mentoring Award, to be inaugurated in 2019. In addition, all mentors will be given special recognition at the annual conference. A mentor-mentee pair will be chosen each month and highlighted on the webpage.
The program works like this:
- Mentors and mentees sign up using the form on the website. Mentees indicate their needs and goals, while mentors indicate the topics they are willing and able to address. Both express preferences for how often and how long they interact as a pair.
- The IAPHS Mentoring and Professional Development Committee compares the needs and expectations of mentors and mentees and looks for an appropriate match. Mentees may suggest potential mentors, but a match to one of them is not guaranteed.
- Mentor and mentee connect by phone and work out a joint plan for their experience together. Once they submit their plan, they are officially enrolled.
- Mentors and mentees agree to: (1) adhere to the plans they have established unless modified by mutual consent; (2) report problems to the IAPHS Administrative Director, and (3) adhere to the IAPHS Code of Conduct in their relationship. IAPHS reserves the right to withdraw its support for any pair that violates expectations.
- IAPHS will support mentor-mentee pairs with monthly emails that provide tips and resources to help you get the most out of your relationship. But it’s up to you to keep in touch and to let the relationship evolve in helpful ways while honoring the expectations you’ve agreed to.
During the pilot phase, it may become necessary to limit the number of participating pairs, but we will do our best to meet members’ needs. We hope that pilot participants will help us learn what worked best, and what else is needed, to support mentor-mentee pairs during the coming year.
You can sign up here.