Mentorship: Why the College Needs You and Your Wisdom

This post is authored by Garima Sharma, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC’s Early Career Professionals Section’s Mentorship Workgroup, and Andrew M. Freeman, MD, FACC, chair of the ACC’s Early Career Professional Section

The Early Career Professionals Section represents nearly 20 percent of the College’s 40,000 members. As the voice of the future of Cardiology, the Section leadership performs regular surveys and discussions with its members. One of the major items needed by early career members was access to like-minded people in their fields who could help further careers, guide and enhance research, and grow the professionals needed for the future.

As such, with the help of talented College staff, the Early Career Professional Section launched it formal ACC Mentorship Program this Spring. The goal of this program is to allow for individuals in private practice, academia, industry and other situations to find more senior folks to guide them through their careers in the form of mentorship. This mentor may serve to bounce ideas off, guide through the development of a successful private practice, or help one to flourish in the sometimes politically charged academic practice. This mentor may also fit a role that was previously not possible – for example a mentor may be involved in such a specialized field that would otherwise be difficult to find in one’s own institution.

Avenues of Mentorship: Mentoring is a time-proven strategy that can help young physicians and health care workers of all circumstances achieve their potential. There are several avenues to achieve a successful mentoring program and it can be designed to meet the needs of the mentees (i.e. academic counseling and research, career development and advancement, securing a job in private practice, social and leadership development etc.).

  1. Who can be a mentor? Who can be a mentee?

Any physician, CV Team Member or Partners in Care (PIC) who has been in practice for at least 10 years and who possess leadership qualities, a caring attitude, is motivated about supporting a young professional and is a positive role model interested in skill-building. Any member of the ACC-FIT, ECP, CV Team or PIC who has a specific need and wants to be helped in a certain area of focus (i.e. applying for a grant, performing inter-institutional research, finding a private practice job) can be a mentee.

  1. We NEED You!

Signing up is easy. Interested parties can complete an online application that will link mentors and mentees based on common factors, such as demographics, academic and career interests, field of expertise, etc. Note you will need your username and password to complete the application.

The program is awaiting critical mass before it starts automatically linking the mentees and mentors based on their selection criteria. For example, if you are an FIT graduating this year, looking for an advanced TAVR fellowship and you selected structural heart disease as the prime focus of interest in which you want to be mentored, the application will pool all the data to bring you the best match in your field with the help of a scoring system that matches your geographical area of choice, demographic, background and the field of interest. It will show you the top five matches for you and their contact information. You can then get started.

The mentorship time commitment could be as small as a handful of hours per year, but can also be as time intensive as is mutually acceptable – be it a weekly phone call or periodic trips to each other’s home base.

  1. What is the expected outcome?

The ACC is committed to a long and healthy relationship between participants that aims at creating multiple avenues for research, scientific engagements, career development and advocacy for young and talented individuals within the College. The ACC Mentorship Program will bring to the forefront programs and symposiums at the national and local meetings that are based on these relationships. The ACC plans to nominate the most gifted mentors for their immense dedication and commitment for “Best Mentor of the Year Award”. There is an official way to rate the mentor as well. After each session of mentoring, you will receive a feedback form and you can provide real-time feedback and the help improve the nature of the mentorship.

  1. What does the ACC need from you?

The ACC needs nominations of talented role-models that have a keen interest in mentoring young, bright and future talent in the field of cardiology. The ACC relies on your awareness, participation and dedication for the success of this program. We encourage you to participate in this exceptional resource and sign up TODAY!! We are also looking for you to encourage exceptional and talented people in your institution to sign up for as mentors. We hope that you able to take full advantage of this platform and achieve your career goals!

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