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Presentation on theme: "M ENTORING R ELATIONSHIPS : T HE G OOD, THE B AD AND THE U GLY Cynthia Rand, Ph.D. Professor of Medicine T HE R ESPONSIBLE C ONDUCT OF R ESEARCH."— Presentation transcript:


2 Disclosures No Relevant Financial Relationships with Commercial Interests

3 O VERVIEW Why care about mentoring The link between mentoring relationships and the responsible conduct of research The hallmarks of good and bad mentoring relationships Mentor-Mentee Vignettes Institutional role in enhancing the quality of mentoring relationships


5 W HY C ARE ? Mentoring is the primary process for formal research training of the next generation of scientists. Knowledge- what content domains do you need to master? Skills –what you need to be able to do (techniques, procedures, methodologies) Critical thinking- how do you generate hypotheses? Observation- how do you interpret data? Communication –how do you present data, write papers? Collaboration- how do you collaborate within and across teams and networks? Rules –what are the rules for the responsible conduct of research?

6 W HY C ARE ? Mentors also serve as role models and informal guides to the “society” of science and academic medicine Passion, curiosity and fun Formal and informal networks and collegiality Career guidance and advocacy Prioritization and time-management Professionalism, values and attitudes The nature and quality of mentoring of new academic medical researchers will determine the future culture and success of science for years to come

7 But why care about mentoring relationships and the responsible conduct of research?

8 How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? 2% of scientists admitted to have fabricated, falsified or modified data or results at least once From G. Dover with permission, Fanelli D (2009) How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Survey Data. PLoS ONE 4(5): e5738.

9 Scientists’ Self-Report Sketchy Research Practices Anonymous survey of 4160 early and 3600 mid-career scientists funded by NIH Response rates: 43% Early career, 52% Mid career 33% had engaged in at least one of ten questionable research-related behaviors during the previous three years From T. Cheng with permission. Martinson B et al. Nature 435: 737-738, 2005


11 M ENTORING AND R ESEARCH M ISCONDUCT : W RIGHT ORI R EVIEW OF T RAINEE M ISCONDUCT Reviewed ORI cases to assess the role of the mentor in the cases of trainee research misconduct on three specific mentor/mentee behaviors (1) review source data, (2) teach specific research standards and (3) minimize stressful work situations. Review Closed ORI cases of trainee misconduct 1990- 2004 33 post docs, 10 graduate students and 2 additional trainees All but three cases involved either or both fabrication and falsification 77% admitted to misconduct By permission from T. Cheng. Wright DE et al. Sci Eng Ethics 2008 14:323-336

12 M ENTORING AND R ESEARCH M ISCONDUCT : M ENTOR S TANDARDS AND R EVIEW In review of 33 cases in which trainee found guilty of scientific misconduct: 90% involved fabrication, falsification or both Over half first reported by someone other than mentor 63% led to retractions of published papers 73% mentors did not look at raw data 62% mentors did not have set standards for recording data From G. Dover by permission

13 M ENTORING AND R ESEARCH M ISCONDUCT : S TRESS AND M ENTOR E XPECTATIONS 53% of cases described their stress levels as a factor that caused or contributed to their misconduct 62% felt pressure to perform well 38% felt time-related stress such as submitting a grant, publication or publication deadline or complete dissertation 17% felt unreasonable pressure from the mentor to get desired or quick results By permission from T. Cheng. Wright DE et al. Sci Eng Ethics 2008 14:323-336

14 “Even though I had already secured a position…and had 18 publications, an NIH fellowship and several awards for my prior work, I believed myself to be a complete failure as a scientist…I think that was going through my mind, had led me to believe that, if I could just show one piece of ‘promising’ data on a group meeting, my supervisor would let me continue working on the problem and produce real data that be presented and published…” By permission from T. Cheng. Wright DE et al. Sci Eng Ethics 2008 14:323-336


16 W HAT WOULD CONSTITUTE INADEQUATE MENTORING ? Failure to review trainee raw data at regular intervals Failure to establish clear standards for: Keeping lab books Managing and retaining data Authorship Failure to adequately support trainee career development Unsupportive work environment for trainees Undue pressure to produce results quickly Unreasonable expectations as to productivity Failure to monitor and be alert to stress levels of trainees Adapted from J. Freischlag with permission


18 C HARACTERISTICS OF S UCCESSFUL M ENTORING R ELATIONSHIPS Reciprocity: bidirectional nature of mentoring, including consideration of strategies to make the relationship sustainable and mutually rewarding Mutual respect: respect for the mentor and mentee’s time, effort, and qualifications Shared values: around the mentor and mentee’s approach to research, clinical work, and personal life Clear expectations: expectations of the relationship are outlined at the onset and revisited over time; both mentor and mentee are held accountable to these expectations Personal connection: connection between the mentor and mentee Strauss et al. Acad Med. 2013;88:82–89.

19 V IGNETTE 1 Mei is an international Ph.D postdoctoral fellow working in Dr. Barlow’s proteomics lab. Mei’s spoken English skills are poor, however, other fellows and technicians in the lab speak Chinese so she has had no problems working in her lab setting. Dr. Barnett’s grant will be up for renewal soon, however, the project Mei has been working on has not been going well. Dr. Barnett’ has expressed dissatisfaction with her progress and results and has asked her to do additional experiments. Mei is increasingly stressed about her progress and her position in Dr. Barlow’s lab and has been working 80 hour weeks to make progress. She is anxious and uncertain about what she should do.

20 P OTENTIALLY V ULNERABLE M ENTEES International scholars may be fully reliant on their mentor for visa status and/or salary Limitations in English skills may contribute to misunderstandings and isolation from the broader academic community Cultural differences may exist related to expectations about mentee/mentor relationships, lab practices, expectations for performance Mentoring International PostDocs

21 V IGNETTE 2 Dr. Wyatt is a Division Director of a busy clinical division in Medicine. He is under increased pressure to meet clinical demands of a newly opened service at Greenspring Station. To meet these needs he recruits Dr. Thomas straight out of her fellowship at UNC Chapel Hill, to join the faculty. Dr. Thomas is very excited to come to Hopkins because of the opportunity to develop a clinical researcher career. Dr. Wyatt has assured Dr. Thomas that Hopkins is a wonderful environment for a budding clinical researcher. In the offer letter Dr. Wyatt notes that he will serve as Dr. Thomas’s mentor and that they will meet regularly to review progress toward academic goals. After one year, Dr. Thomas has found it difficult to get a research program going with her 7 clinics a week and the conversion to EPIC. At the time of her annual review, Dr. Wyatt says that Dr. Thomas has been a wonderful addition to the Division, and he would therefore like her to take on the role of co-director of the fellowship program. Dr. Thomas is worried that this will further retard her research career.

22 W HICH H AT ? Directs the work of the individual Focused on performance, professional development and career development Based on organizational needs Driven by learning agenda influenced by organizational needs Inside the hierarchy of direct reporting relationships Sometimes, but not always confidential Guide and support the individual Focused on professional and personal development Based on mentee’s expressed needs Driven by specific learning agenda identified by the mentee Outside the hierarchy of direct reporting relationships Confidential Manager Mentor Adapted from M. Feldman, UCSF Faculty Mentoring Toolkit

23 C ONFLICT OF INTEREST MENTORING ? “a division chief may find conflict of interest in his or her roles as both guardian of the division and facilitator of a junior faculty member's professional aspirations” Pololi and Knight J Gen Intern Med. 2005 September; 20(9): 866–870.

24 V IGNETTE 3 Dr. Yon is a very prominent and very successful researcher. He prides himself on his mentoring skills and his unbroken records of NIH funding. He therefore attracts many fellows and junior faculty eager to work with him. Trainees learn quickly that they will need to impress Dr. Yon with their data if they want to get his time and attention. For the smartest and most successful trainees, Dr. Yon can open many doors. And Dr. Yon is just as willing to tell the less successful trainees that they don’t’ have what it takes to succeed. He believes it’s important to be blunt. Dr. Yon has won several mentoring awards.

25 “T OR ( MENTORS )” "[a]t the same time we proffer kudos upon outstanding mentors, it behooves us to call attention to those who engage in actively negative mentoring, which for want of a better term we shall refer to as 'tormenting.' Perhaps an award should be given to 'Tormentor of the Year.'" Silen, "In Search of the Complete Mentor," in Mentations, Volume 5-Fall 1998

26 T OXIC M ENTORS 1) “Avoiders” – mentors who are neither available nor accessible 2) “Dumpers” – mentors who force novices into new roles and let them “sink or swim” 3) “Blockers” – mentors who continually refuse requests, withhold information, take over projects, or supervise too closely 4) “Destroyers or criticizers” – mentors who focus on inadequacies (from Darling 1986, quoted in Mateao et al. 1991:76). Williams et al. Education for Primary Care (2012) 23: 56–8

27 W HEN M ENTORING F AILS Poor communication: including lack of open communication, failure to communicate tactfully, and inability to listen Lack of commitment: lack of time committed to the relationship or waning interest over time Perceived (or real) competition Personality differences: different personal characteristics between the mentor and mentee Conflicts of interest: competing agendas between the mentor and mentee Lack of experience: mentor may not have relevant knowledge, skills, or experience Strauss et al. Acad Med. 2013;88:82–89.

28 I F A MENTORING RELATIONSHIP ISN ’ T WORKING … Work it out: If you’ve never addressed the problems head on, talk with your mentor. Share your concerns. Does he or she feel that it is working? Any suggestions for meeting each others’ expectations? Supplement it: If your mentee is good in some ways but lacks certain skills/capacities- Add additional mentors (formal or informal) End it: If your mentoring relationship is toxic, demoralizing or otherwise irreparably negative - Change mentors.

29 V IGNETTE 4 Dr. Dwight is an ambitious Assistant Professor on a K award who feels that his productivity is slow because he has never had a postdoctoral fellow work with him in his research program. He is very pleased when an incoming fellow selects him to serve as his primary mentor. He gives the fellow a project to complete, however, after nine months the fellow seems to be floundering. Dr. Dwight is uncertain how to help.

30 J UNIOR OR S ENIOR F ACULTY M ENTOR ? 30 More available Fewer other mentoring commitments More time May be more personally engaged More resources More experience More influence More competitive as a K mentor JuniorSenior Consider a duo- Junior + Senior Mentor

31 T HE M ULTIPLE M ENTOR S TRATEGY Few mentors can provide all necessary mentoring support Keeps the novice from setting out on the often futile search for the “perfect mentor” Gives the mentee the opportunity to evaluate advice from several different perspectives Makes it more likely that the mentee will have access to both male and female mentors of the same and other races and in various positions 31 Adapted from Hall, 1983, AAMC

32 V IGNETTE 5 Mary is a postdoctoral fellow in Pediatrics. She is in year three of her fellowship and is hoping to be offered a position on the faculty. At the beginning of her fellowship her mentor Dr. Alsop had offered to meet with her every two weeks to review her progress, however, Mary frequently ended up canceling meetings at the last minute because she still had clinical commitments to finish up. Dr. Alsop had helped her initiate a small clinical study, however, it had taken a long time to learn the e-IRB system and the data collection was going slowly because she kept getting interrupted by her other commitments. Last year, Dr. Alsop provided her with a data set that she could use to write a secondary analysis paper and gave access to her biostatistician, however, she was really done with all the analyses and was having trouble getting started on the draft. She has asked Dr. Alsop to be her mentor for a K award and is shocked that Dr. Alsop says that she does not believe she can serve as Mary’s K mentor.

33 T HE T EAR -Y OUR -H AIR -O UT M ENTEES : W HAT THE M ASTER M ENTORS S AID Brilliant, but not working to potential Highly distracted, not focused Passive Passive-Aggressive Arrogant or disinterested in being mentored Not a team player or exhibiting poor behavior Poor time management Unreliable Not listening to you Doesn’t appreciate mentoring

34 W HAT THE M ASTER M ENTORS S AID : M OST DIFFICULT CHALLENGES Motivating the procrastinator Not getting the obvious – teaching independent thinking Award-driven, but not substance-driven ideas Not understanding that it takes longer than anticipated Teaching organizational skills How to manage/direct yourself when opportunities change How to teach trainees that they are responsible for their own careers

35 P ROACTIVE M ENTEESHIP Agree on structure and objectives of relationship Respect your mentor’s time Plan and set the meeting agendas Asks for and be receptive to feedback Clarify mentor’s expectations regarding authorship, intellectual property, team responsibilities Follow through on assigned tasks/projects/papers Set and regularly review mutually determined goals, milestones and expectations Be responsive and flexible

36 I NSTITUTIONAL R OLE IN E NHANCING THE Q UALITY OF M ENTORING R ELATIONSHIPS Does the Institution: Assure that all trainees and junior faculty have identified mentors? Provide training for mentoring skills? Provide resources and support for mentoring diverse faculty? Have guidelines for “best practices” mentoring? Monitor the quality of mentoring relationships? Provide regular opportunities for informal and/or cross-departmental mentoring? Recognize and reward excellence in mentoring?


38 Panel Discussion o Errin Britt, J.D. o Carolyn Machamer, Ph.D. o Martha Zeiger, M.D. o Julie Gottlieb, M.A. Moderator


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