June 09, 2021

Two from exiting cohort of HEA reflect on mentorship

Written by

Talley squareMichele H. Talley, Ph.D., ACNP-BC, FAANP, FNAPIn 2019, UAB launched the Healthcare Educators Academy (HEA) with a mission to advance the development of faculty in health professions by strengthening educators through mentorship, fostering a culture of excellence in teaching, developing innovative teaching resources across disciplines, and advancing a collaborative teaching environment.

The HEA operates within three pillars: teaching excellence, career advancement, and professional meaning.

The program is led by Dawn Taylor Peterson, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Medical Education, Jason Morris, M.D., FACP, associate program director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program, and Claire Finney, program manager of the UAB Healthcare Educators Academy and the Office of Service Learning.

In addition to hosting teaching workshops and developing educational materials, HEA members mentor junior faculty. Mentees complete a two-year membership, and mentors serve in one-year terms. The HEA provides mentees with training and tools to ensure future promotion and advancement. Members support professional well-being and professionalism, including work-life balance and role modeling.

Mentoring across disciplines

Michele H. Talley, Ph.D., ACNP-BC, FAANP, FNAP, assistant dean for Clinical and Community Programs in the School of Nursing, and Will Meador, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Neurology, are one of the Mentor/Mentee pairings for the class of 2020-2021. Talley and Meador’s mentorship is unique in that it bridges disciplines between nursing and medicine.

Talley, who graduated from UAB School of Nursing in 2005 with her Masters of Nursing and in 2015 with her Ph.D. in Nursing Science, has been a faculty member at UAB for over eleven years. Talley became involved in the HEA to stretch her mentorship skills beyond her profession. “I have mentored many nursing faculty in curriculum development and revisions. However, this opportunity allowed me to test my mentorship beyond my own profession and provide interprofessional educational mentorship.”

Similarly, Meador, who has been a faculty member since 2013 and has published a number of peer-reviewed articles, says he became involved in the HEA to become better-rounded in the area of teaching. “HEA was a great opportunity to bolster my teaching skills, learn about best practices around campus, meet faculty and leaders from other schools, and develop an educational project.”

Meador squareWill Meador, M.D.Learning from others

HEA mentorships are structured with both individual mentoring and group mentoring activities. Talley explains that she and Meador attended the first HEA session then shaped their mentorship structure themselves: “In between each meeting, we worked on achieving our goals in the form of monthly deliverables. This kept us on task throughout the year.”

From the mentee perspective, Meador remarks that learning how other health care professionals around campus—and in different professions than his own—approach educational challenges and innovations has been a great opportunity to refine his educational projects further. He also says it has given him great ideas for sharing opportunities. “When innovating or solving educational challenges, it is tremendously helpful to hear or receive feedback from others who have accomplished similar goals in the past or who approach similar challenges in very different ways,” he explains.

“Drs. Michele Talley and Jason Morris each served for one year as my individual mentor and both were terrific assets in my project development and instructional design understanding. Quarterly, we all receive group mentoring from peer mentees in the HEA as well as a senior faculty leader who moderate the discussion,” he says.

The value of mentorships in education

On the mentorship experience, both Talley and Meador say it has been rewarding in more ways than one. “I have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the SHARP program and assisting Dr. Meador in mapping the course content and competencies,” Talley says.

When asked about the value of mentorships across disciplines, she remarks that we all have different strengths, and through mentorship, we can share our strengths to improve education and ultimately health care.

The UAB Healthcare Educators Academy is a member of The Academies Collaborative, a national forum for health professions teaching academies and similar organizations. The Academies Collaborative fosters and champions teaching academies and similar organizations to develop and recognize educators’ excellence in the health professions. Read more about the HEA.