Connector-Based Mentorship


Foster impactful, individualized mentorship based on the needs of junior faculty

connector-based mentorship logo. Yellow figures on purple background.

Mentorship is critical for DGIM faculty scholarly work, retention, job satisfaction, and career advancement. Establishing effective, longitudinal mentorship can be challengingnew faculty usually lack a network of more experienced faculty who are ideally suited to serve as mentors; pre-assigned mentorship relationships are rarely durable or effective.

Neha Deshpande, MD, launched the Connector-Based Mentorship Program with the UWMC Hospital Medicine Group in 2019. Connectors were trained to elicit junior faculty career goals, identify mentoring needs, and select potential mentors with aligned interests. The program is currently expanding to include more faculty throughout the Division.

This approach fosters many of the characteristics of successful mentorship, as described in Strauss et al. Acad Med. 2013 Jan; 88(1): 82–89.

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Mutual respect
  3. Clear expectations/explanations
  4. Personal connection
  5. Shared values

We piloted these concepts in a project-based initiative launched in 2017. DGIM faculty were invited to write chapters in Chalk Talks in Internal Medicine: Scripts for Clinical Teaching. Handbook editors (Somnath Mookherjee, Lauren Beste, Jared Klein, and Jennifer Wright) ninety-six DGIM faculty as paired authors for each teaching script and encouraged the formation of mentorship dyads. Read a one-page guideline for project-based mentorship. The book was published November 2020 and is available at Springer, Amazon, and other retailers.