This blog feature introduces some of the outstanding people who have participated in the IAPHS Mentoring Program. The program introduces individuals needing advice on career-building in population health to mentors willing to help them along.
In this Mentoring Spotlight, we feature mentor Lynne Cossman and mentee Matthew Lee. Lynne is the founding dean of the College for Health, Community and Policy and the Mark G. Yudof Endowed Professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Matthew is a Doctor of Public Health candidate in Sociomedical Sciences at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Matthew and Lynne have been meeting together since early 2019, when they found each other through the IAPHS Mentoring Program.
Matthew sought out the mentoring program for a specific purpose – to find an advisor with expertise in policy and policy implementation to complement what he was learning from people in his home department. It turns out Lynne has provided much more, as Matthew reports:
“What has made Dr. Cossman such an impactful IAPHS mentor over the past year and a half, is her commitment to helping me demystify and uncover much of the ‘hidden curriculum’ as a first-generation student, and queer second-generation Asian American. Having these opportunities to regularly speak one-on-one with a senior mentor at another department and institution has meant having an experienced and impartial eye guide me through navigating tricky systems, spaces, and situations. Her decisive leadership and strong feedback provide sharp clarity when I’m feeling adrift or uncertain. Additionally, her enthusiasm and support for my successes help keep me motivated and focused on my goals.”
Lynne is equally enthusiastic:
“I have really enjoyed my regular meetings with Matthew and I look forward to them when I see them sneaking up on my calendar. Matthew is incredibly thoughtful … His questions always make me think carefully about things I simply ‘know’ – why do I know them to be true and how did I learn those pieces of information. I learn more about myself as a person, an academic, a leader and a mentor in every call – and sometimes wish our schedules would let us talk more frequently!”
What has made this relationship so successful? For his part, Matthew prepares a specific list of questions and issues for each call. On her side, Lynne gives careful consideration to every agenda item and ensures that there is adequate time to address them all. She sends Matthew resources while they are talking (e.g., examples of tenure and promotion guidelines from different institutions), and also walks him through what he should specifically be looking at/for in each resource. Matthew has found this to be extremely effective and has learned to adopt it in his own mentoring.
Kudos to both Matthew and Lynne for making the most of their mentoring relationship and best wishes for continued success!
The IAPHS Mentoring program currently has 42 active mentor-mentee pairs. Registration opens for new applicants in January 2021.