The Importance of Mentorship in Shaping the Careers of Academic Leaders in Plastic Surgery

Lindsay E. Janes, Aaron M. Kearney, Peter J. Taub, Arun K. Gosain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The majority of successful academic physicians cite mentorship as a critical element of their achievements. The goal of this study was to survey established leaders in plastic surgery to identify the importance that mentorship played in their career development, and to identify common themes that enabled them to "pay it forward" in helping to develop the next generation of leaders in plastic surgery. Methods: The authors performed a qualitative survey of 14 established leaders in plastic surgery (mentors) in the United States with a strong reputation for mentorship. The authors asked each to identify a key mentor (senior mentor) and mentee, grouping them in triads of a senior mentor, mentor, and mentee. The authors then submitted a similar survey to the mentee. Results: Thirteen mentor-mentee pairs for which both members had responded were included. After reviewing responses to these questions, the authors elicited a number of recurring themes. All respondents emphasized the importance of mentorship to their success in academic plastic surgery. Additional themes included encouraging mentees to find their passion, leading by example, discussing complex cases with residents/students, and using research time as an opportunity. Conclusions: Strong patterns of mentorship are highlighted among the careers of leaders in academic plastic surgery. The authors advocate for formation of mentorship relationships within training programs and more national mentorship programs such as those emerging through the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Plastic Surgery Research Council for interested medical students, residents, and junior faculty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-232
Number of pages9
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Volume150
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

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