Training mentors of clinical and translational research scholars: A randomized controlled trial

Christine Pfund, Stephanie C. House, Pamela Asquith, Michael F. Fleming, Kevin A. Buhr, Ellen L. Burnham, Julie M. Eichenberger Gilmore, W. Charles Huskins, Richard McGee, Kathryn Schurr, Eugene D. Shapiro, Kimberly C. Spencer, Christine A. Sorkness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine whether a structured mentoring curriculum improves research mentoring skills. Method: The authors conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) at 16 academic health centers (June 2010 to July 2011). Faculty mentors of trainees who were conducting clinical/translational research 50% of the time were eligible. The intervention was an eight-hour, case-based curriculum focused on six mentoring competencies. The primary outcome was the change in mentors' self-reported pretest to posttest composite scores on the Mentoring Competency Assessment (MCA). Secondary outcomes included changes in the following: mentors' awareness as measured by their self-reported retrospective change in MCA scores, mentees' ratings of their mentors' competency as measured by MCA scores, and mentoring behaviors as reported by mentors and their mentees. Results A total of 283 mentor-mentee pairs were enrolled: 144 mentors were randomized to the intervention; 139 to the control condition. Self-reported pre-/posttest change in MCA composite scores was higher for mentors in the intervention group compared with controls (P <.001). Retrospective changes in MCA composite scores between the two groups were even greater, and extended to all six subscale scores (P <.001). More intervention-group mentors reported changes in their mentoring practices than control mentors (P <.001). Mentees working with intervention-group mentors reported larger changes in retrospective MCA pre-/posttest scores (P =.003) and more changes in their mentors' behavior (P =.002) than those paired with control mentors. Conclusions: This RCT demonstrates that a competency-based research mentor training program can improve mentors' skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)774-782
Number of pages9
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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