The Junior Faculty Laboratory: An Innovative Model of Peer Mentoring

Johnson, Kimberly S. MD, MHS; Hastings, S. Nicole MD, MHS; Purser, Jama L. PT, PhD; Whitson, Heather E. MD, MHS

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31823595e8
Mentoring

Mentoring in academic medicine has been shown to contribute to the success of junior faculty, resulting in increased productivity, career satisfaction, and opportunities for networking. Although traditional dyadic mentoring, involving one senior faculty member and one junior protégé, is the dominant model for mentoring in the academic environment, there is increasing recognition that the sharing of knowledge, skills, and experiences among peers may also contribute to the career development of junior faculty. The authors describe the structure, activities, and outcomes of the Junior Faculty Laboratory (JFL), a self-organized, flexible, and dynamic peer-mentoring model within the Duke University Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. As an innovative mentoring model, JFL is entirely peer driven, and its activities are determined by the real-time needs of members. In contrast to some other peer-mentoring models, JFL lacks senior faculty input or a structured curriculum, members are multidisciplinary, meeting times are project driven rather than preset, and participation in collaborative projects is optional based on the interests and needs of group members. Additionally, JFL was not formed as a substitute for, but as a complement to, the dyadic mentoring relationships enjoyed by its members. The model, now in its fifth year, has demonstrated success and sustainability. The authors present the JFL as an innovative, mentoring model that can be reproduced by other junior faculty seeking to foster collegial relationships with peers while simultaneously enhancing their career development.

Dr. Johnson is assistant professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Hastings is assistant professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center and Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center, Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care, Durham VA Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Purser is assistant professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Division of Physical Therapy, Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Whitson is assistant professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Johnson, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3003, Durham, NC 27710; telephone: (919) 660-7506; fax: (919) 684-8569; e-mail: johns196@mc.duke.edu.

First published online October 25, 2011

© 2011 Association of American Medical Colleges