It is imperative that we develop a national cadre of clinician scientists to investigate and develop new treatments for patients with hearing and balance disorders. Clinician scientists are faced with the significant challenges of combining a clinic practice with a high caliber research program, and the difficulty of managing such a demanding career leaves few individuals who have success in procuring NIH funding for research. We believe that these clinician scientists would benefit greatly from careful mentorship and guidance in career development and research skill development. This application will create the infrastructure for a national mentoring network, targeting junior faculty clinician-scientists n otolaryngology and related fields that address hearing and balance dysfunction (such as Audiology and Vestibular Sciences). We propose to develop an enduring web-based IT platform that will contain tools for education as well as communication among program staff, mentors and mentees. Through this format we will provide a comprehensive educational program for on all aspects of career development. Most information will target junior faculty mentees. However, another and novel focus of this application is the education of mid-career faculty to become effective mentors. We will create mentorship teams, comprised of a mentee, senior mentor, and 'associate'mentor. Associate mentors are less experienced mentors (mid-career faculty), and will be provided with educational materials and feedback on mentoring skills. Interactions between mentors and mentees will be carefully monitored so that expectations are managed and any conflicts or problems are addressed promptly and effectively. An assessment plan is included, both for discovery of needs and to evaluate effectiveness of the program in the short and long term. Resources that can be provided by professional organizations with similar interests are incorporated where possible to provide added value. The program is directed by a national leadership team and Duke Faculty and staff, and progress is monitored by an External Board comprised of clinician scientists, basic scientists, and mentoring experts. Most interactions are 'virtual', although mentees and mentors will attend one face-to-face meeting per year, and are expected to interact at national meetings that are attended by team members. This pilot program will enroll five mentees for a two year program, each with two mentors who are identified by the mentee working in conjunction with the grant leadership team.
The goal of this application is to develop a national infrastructure to support clinician scientists as they transition into the early stages of an academic career in hearing and balance disorders. This program will fulfill the need a national program that can be utilized by mentors and mentees alike, allowing for cross-mentorship between academic institutions and providing educational and career development opportunities that may not exist within the mentee's home academic institution.
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