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. GIM faculty were invited to write chapters in a handbook of 10 Minute Chalk-Talks: Teaching Scripts in Internal Medicine. Handbook editors (Somnath Mookherjee, Lauren Beste, Jared Klein, and Jennifer Wright) connected authors and mentorship dyads and encouraged a mentoring relationship. Read a one-page guideline for project-based mentorship. As of May 2020, the book itself is currently in press.