Studies Show Mentorship Provides Unique Benefits to Mentors

Jun 28, 2019
Shannon Giannitsopoulou

This October 2019 will mark the launch of the third year of the Faculty of Medicine’s Diversity Mentorship Program (DMP). Administered by the Faculty of Medicine’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the DMP connects first and second year medical students from equity seeking groups to faculty physician mentors who are able to support and assist them in their educational and professional growth and development. For the purposes of the DMP, equity-seeking groups are identified as those who have been historically marginalized and/or underrepresented in Medicine in Canada. The Faculty of Medicine’s Diversity Statement also highlights specific groups in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) who are underrepresented in Medicine based on their level of representation in the general GTA population. Equity seeking groups who will be considered for this program include students who identify as Indigenous, racialized, LGBTQ2S, first in family to attend university, differently abled, economically disadvantaged, and/or from a minoritized faith group, amongst other groups and communities. Last year, the DMP succeeded in creating 54 matches.

Diversity mentorship is shown to be an effective method of improving student success, through providing access to specific career opportunities and networks of professionals who may share similar social identities (de Dios et al., 2013). While there is ample research that shows medical mentorship programs result in a wide array of benefits for mentees, studies also demonstrate that “the relationship benefits mentors as well through greater productivity, career satisfaction, and personal gratification” (Henry-Noel et al., 2018, p. 1).

Dr. Sharon Straus, a past mentor in the Diversity Mentorship Program, says that her experience has been very rewarding: “There’s no better feeling than when your mentee gets a grant, wins an award or presents well at rounds. It keeps me engaged, and I get to see their careers develop over time. Similarly, Garmel (2004) identifies that through mentorship, mentors gain, “rekindled passion and excitement about the specialty, increase[ed] professional satisfaction, exposure to new ideas and opportunities, pride in the mentee’s successes, personal growth, increased creativity, and advancement as a result of mentoring” (p. 1352). Dr. Julie Johnstone, another mentor that participated in the DMP, also enjoyed the opportunity to give back: “I had the privilege of having excellent mentors as I went through my training. These relationships were often most impactful when I could relate to my mentors and picture myself working in a similar role. Being a mentor in the DMP was a small, personally enjoyable, way that I could pay this forward.”

The DMP is currently recruiting UofT faculty physician mentors for the 2019-2020 year. Any faculty physicians who are interested inequity, diversity, inclusion and being an ally to marginalized and underrepresented learners in medicine are encouraged to apply. If you are interested in applying, you can fill out an online form to indicate your interest.

 Learn more about the Diversity Mentorship Program.



de Dios, M. A., Kuo, C., Hernandez, L., Clark, U. S., Wenze, S. J., Boisseau, C. L., … Zlotnick, C. (2013). The development of a diversity mentoring program for faculty and trainees: A program at the Brown Clinical Psychology Training Consortium. The Behavior therapist, 36(5), 121–126.

Garmel, G. M. (2004). Mentoring Medical Students in Academic Emergency Medicine. Academic Emergency Medicine, 11(12), 1351-1357. doi:10.1197/j.aem.2004.06.013

Henry-Noel, N., Bishop, M., Gwede, C. K., Petkova, E., & Szumacher, E. (2018). Mentorship in Medicine and Other Health Professions. Journal of Cancer Education. doi:10.1007/s13187-018-1360-6


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