One of the fundamental objectives of this training program is to ensure that trainees receive adequate mentorship, and that mentorship is taught and evaluated.
All trainees have free access to program faculty. A formal orientation process exists to introduce trainees coming from within the Pulmonary/Critical Care Fellowship Training Program to available research opportunities and interests of program faculty. PhD Trainees from outside the Pulmonary/Critical Care Fellowship Training Program will likely have been attracted to the Training Program by the prospect of working in a particular laboratory environment. Although their choice of a mentor is likely to be somewhat predetermined, assurances will be made that prospective trainees are aware of the scope of available opportunities. Once a prospective mentor is identified by the trainee, the Program Director presents the trainee's choice to the Steering Committee. The Committee will evaluate the trainee's selection, based on
- evaluation of the mentor's expertise related to the specific research question proposed by the trainee.
- availability of adequate space, equipment, and financial resources for the trainee to successfully execute their research plan.
- willingness and ability of the mentor to commit adequate time to supervising the trainee.
If the Steering Committee approves of the trainee's choice, they will also make recommendations as to the composition of the trainee's Advisory Committee.
A primary mentor is defined for each trainee who is responsible for the fellow's training and career development. In many instances, a co-mentor will be involved in a team-based research project. A team mentoring approach provides several advantages.
- encouraging fellows to work at the interface between disciplines.
- developing the necessary attitudes and skills needed for team research.
- providing the trainee with complementary perspectives on the conceptualization and execution of a research project as well as on career development. In some instances, co-mentoring by a senior and a junior faculty member allows the trainee to benefit from the experiences of the former in project definition, hypothesis development, career advice, networking, and grant preparation, and from the latter in day-to-day supervision and technical troubleshooting.
- allowing less experienced trainers to learn from more experienced partners.
Individual Trainee Advisory Committees
At the end of the first year of Pulmonary and Critical Care fellowship training, or at the time of entry for trainees coming from outside the program, the Program Director will assign a Research Advisory Committee. It will be composed of 2-3 faculty (in addition to the mentor and, if one exists, co-mentor) who are not involved in the day to day aspects of the trainee’s project. At least one member of the committee will come from outside the Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine. The specific functions of the Advisory Committee will include:
- identifying other potential faculty who may profitably advise/collaborate on the trainee's project.
- selection of appropriate course work or additional training, based on the trainee’s educational background and the needs of the project.
- assistance in selecting topics and preparing research seminars and oral presentations at national meetings.
- joining with the mentor in reviewing drafts of manuscripts and grant applications.
The Advisory Committee will also provide continuity to the trainee's education by performing the semi-annual reviews of the trainee's progress and transmitting these evaluations to the T32 Steering Committee.