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Value of peer mentoring for early career professional, research, and personal development: a case study of implementation scientists.

  • Author(s): Dickson, Kelsey S;
  • Glass, Joseph E;
  • Barnett, Miya L;
  • Graham, Andrea K;
  • Powell, Byron J;
  • Stadnick, Nicole A
  • et al.
Abstract

Effective mentoring is a key mechanism propelling successful research and academic careers, particularly for early career scholars. Most mentoring programs focus on models pairing senior and early career researchers, with limited focus on peer mentoring. Peer mentoring may be especially advantageous within emerging areas such as implementation science (IS) where challenges to traditional mentoring may be more prevalent. This special communication highlights the value of peer mentoring by describing a case study of an early career IS peer mentoring group. We delineate our curriculum and structure; support and processes; and products and outcomes. We highlight important group member characteristics to consider during group formation and continuation. The group's long-term (6 years) success was attributed to the balance of similarities and differences among group members. Members were in a similar career phase and used similar methodologies but studied different health topics at different institutions. Group members gave and received instrumental and psychosocial support and shared resources and knowledge. Peer mentoring can serve an important function to provide emotional, logistical, and professional development support for early career scholars. Our case study highlights strategies to foster peer mentoring groups that provide a generalizable blueprint and opportunity for improved outcomes for early career professionals.

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