Effective mentoring of underrepresented scholars is vital for the future of scientific inquiry, as well as for clinical and public health applications. Through the mentoring process, both the mentee and mentor can benefit by broadening their knowledge, skills, and perspectives relative to the professional goals and interests of the mentee. Establishing a trusting and nurturing relationship allows the mentor and mentee to identify short- and long-term goals, accompanied by strategies designed to maximize the mentee’s success. Many relationships benefit from establishing explicit working guidelines early on, with recognition that flexibility may be necessary as the relationship matures.

Adapting to the specific needs and challenges facing underrepresented doctoral trainees and early career scholars, a team of researchers, including Drs. Robin Lanzi, professor, Ms. Teneasha Washington, post doctoral scholar, and Ms. Alison Footman, doctoral student, from the department of health behavior at University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, propose an integrative developmental framework informed by 3 fundamental assumptions: (a) the mentee’s professional growth and personal development are intertwined; (b) the mentee’s goals will evolve and sometimes change over time; and (c) reflective analysis of the distinctive skill sets, life experiences, and limits of the mentor and mentee will help strengthen the mentoring plan.

The authors share this developmental framework with the hope that others may adapt this as a practical template to develop a joint plan amenable to intermittent monitoring to optimize productivity and personally rewarding professional career trajectories for an increasingly diverse workforce.

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