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A Novel Measure of “Good” Mentoring: Testing Its Reliability and Validity in Four Academic Health Centers

Pololi, Linda H. MBBS, FRCP; Evans, Arthur T. MD, MPH; Civian, Janet T. EdD; Gibbs, Brian K. PhD; Gillum, Linda H. PhD; Brennan, Robert T. EdD

Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions: October 2016 - Volume 36 - Issue 4 - p 263–268
doi: 10.1097/CEH.0000000000000114
Original Research

Introduction: Despite the well-recognized benefits of mentoring in academic medicine, there is a lack of clarity regarding what constitutes effective mentoring. We developed a tool to assess mentoring activities experienced by faculty and evaluated evidence for its validity.

Methods: The National Initiative on Gender, Culture, and Leadership in Medicine—“C-Change”—previously developed the C-Change Faculty Survey to assess the culture of academic medicine. After intensive review, we added six items representing six components of mentoring to the survey—receiving help with career and personal goals, learning skills, sponsorship, and resources. We tested the items in four academic health centers during 2013 to 2014. We estimated reliability of the new items and tested the correlation of the new items with a mentoring composite variable representing faculty mentoring experiences as positive, neutral, or inadequate and with other C-Change dimensions of culture.

Results: Among the 1520 responding faculty (response rate 61–63%), there was a positive association between each of the six mentoring activities and satisfaction with both the amount and quality of mentoring received. There was no difference by sex. Cronbach α coefficients ranged from 0.89 to 0.95 across subgroups of faculty (by sex, race, and principal roles). The mentoring responses were associated most closely with dimensions of Institutional Support (r = 0.58, P < .001), Institutional Change Efforts for Faculty Support (r = 0.52, P < .001), Values Alignment (r = 0.58, P < .001), Self-efficacy (r = 0.43; P < .001), and Relationships/Inclusion/Trust (r = 0.41; P < .001).

Discussion: Data demonstrated that the Mentoring scale is a valid instrument to assess mentoring. Survey results could facilitate mentoring program development and evaluation.

Dr. Pololi: Senior Scientist, Brandeis University, Director, National Initiative on Gender, Culture, and Leadership in Medicine: C-Change, and Resident Scholar, Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center, Waltham, MA. Dr. Evans: Chief, Section of Hospital Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, and Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY. Dr. Civian: Senior Analyst, Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA. Dr. Gibbs: Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, and Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM. Dr. Gillum: Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs, and Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Rochester, MI. Dr. Brennan: Research Associate, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA.

Correspondence: Linda H. Pololi, MBBS, FRCP, Senior Scientist Director, National Initiative on Gender, Culture, and Leadership in Medicine: C-Change, Brandeis University, Mailstop 079, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA 02454-9110; e-mail:

Disclosures: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2016 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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