Perspectives

In Search of a Femtor: The Complexities of Female Mentorship in Academic Medicine

Authors: Doris Lin, MD, MS

Abstract

My search for a femtor, otherwise known as a female mentor, began when I joined the faculty of a large academic medical center in my hometown approximately 6 years ago. Before that time, I already had several years of experience working in other academic institutions. The first few years out of residency, however, I never really sought out a mentor because I was a busy physician still learning how to manage patients on my own. When I started my present job, I was hired primarily as a clinician educator and planned to stay long term. 

This content is limited to qualifying members.

Existing members, please login first.

If you have an existing account please login now to access this article or view your purchase options.

Purchase only this article ($15)

Create a free account, then purchase this article to download or access it online for 24 hours.

Purchase an SMJ online subscription ($75)

Create a free account, then purchase a subscription to get complete access to all articles for a full year.

Purchase a membership plan (fees vary)

Premium members can access all articles plus recieve many more benefits. View all membership plans and benefit packages.

References

1. Gray J, Armstrong P. Academic health leadership: looking to the future. Clin Invest Med 2003;26:315–326. 2. Sambunjak D, Straus SE, Marusic A. Mentoring in academic medicine: a systematic review. JAMA 2006;296:1103–1115. 3. Sambunjak D, Marusic A. Mentoring: what’s in a name? JAMA 2009;302:2591–2592. 4. Morrison LJ, Lorens E, Bandiera G, et al. Impact of a formal mentoring program on academic promotion of Department of Medicine faculty: a comparative study. Med Teach 2014;36:608–614. 5. Efsthathiou JA, Drumm MR, Paly JP, et al. Long-term impact of a faculty mentoring program in academic medicine. PLoS One 2018;13:e0207634. 6. Farkas AH, Bonifacino E, Turner R, et al. Mentorship of women in academic medicine: a systematic review. J Gen Intern Med 2019;34:1322–1329. 7. Wingard DL, Garman KA, Reznik V. Facilitating faculty success: outcomes and cost benefit of the UCSD National Center of Leadership in Academic Medicine. Acad Med 2004;79(10 suppl):S9–S11. 8. Benson CA, Morahan PS, Sachdeva AK, et al. Effective faculty preceptoring and mentoring during reorganization of an academic medical center. Med Teach 2002;24:550–557. 9. Illes J, Glover GH, Wexler L, et al. A model for faculty mentoring in academic radiology. Acad Radiol 2000;7:717–724. 10. Ramondetta LM, Bodurka DC, Tortolero-Luna G, et al. Mentorship and productivity among gynecologic oncology fellows. J Cancer Educ 2003;18:15–19. 11. Steiner JF, Curtis P, Lanphear BP, et al. Assessing the role of influential mentors in the research development of primary care fellows. Acad Med 2004;79:865–872. 12. Levinson W, Kaufman K, Clark B, et al. Mentors and role models for women in academic medicine. West J Med 1991;154:423–426. 13. Mayer AP, Files JA, Ko MG, et al. Academic advancement of women in medicine: do socialized gender differences have a role in mentoring. Mayo Clin Proc 2008;83:204–207. 14. Kashiwagi DT, Varkey P, Cook DA. Mentoring programs for physicians in academic medicine: a systematic review. Acad Med 2013;88:1029–1037. 15. Lewellen-Williams C, Johnson VA, Deloney LA, et al. The POD: a new model for mentoring underrepresented minority faculty. Acad Med 2006;81:275–279. 16. Alleyne SD, Horner MS, Walter G, et al. Mentors’ perspectives on group mentorship: a descriptive study of two programs in child and adolescent psychiatry. Acad Psychiatry 2009;33:377–382. 17. Moss J, Teshima J, Leszcz M. Peer group mentoring of junior faculty. Acad Psychiatry 2008;32:230–235. 18. Morgan AU, Chaiyachati KH, Weissman GE, et al. Eliminating gender-based bias in academic medicine: more than naming the “elephant in the room”. J Gen Intern Med 33:966–968. 19. Nattinger AB. Promoting the career development of women in academic medicine. Arch Intern Med 2007;167:323– 324. 20. Spector ND. Utilizing mentorship to achieve equity in leadership. Hospitalist April 26, 2019. 21. Marshall AL, Dversdal RK, Murphy M, et al. WOMENtorship: the #WomenInMedicine perspective. Med Teach 2020;42:228–230. 22. Ly DP, Jena AB. Sex differences in time spent on household activities and care of children among US physicians, 2003-2016. Mayo Clin Proc 2018;93:1484–1487. 23. Levinson W, Tolle SW, Lewis C. Women in academic medicine: combining career and family. N Engl J Med 1989;321:1511–1517. 24. Carr PL, Ash AS, Friedman RH, et al. Relation of family responsibilities and gender to the productivity and career satisfaction of medical faculty. Ann Intern Med 1998;129:532–538. 25. Straus SE, Johnson MO, Marquez C, et al. Characteristics of successful and failed mentoring relationships: a qualitative study across two academic health centers. Acad Med 2013;88:82–89. 26. Sambunjak D, Straus SE, Marusic A. A systematic review of qualitative research on the meaning and characteristics of mentoring in academic medicine. J Gen Intern Med 2010;25:72–78. 27. Decastro R, Griffith KA, Ubel PA, et al. Mentoring and the career satisfaction of male and female academic medical faculty. Acad Med 2014;89:301–311. 28. Straus SE, Chatur F, Taylor M. Issues in the mentor-mentee relationship in academic medicine: a qualitative study. Acad Med 2009;84:135–139. 29. Decastro R, Sambuco D, Ubel PA, et al. Mentor networks in academic medicine: moving beyond a dyadic conception of mentoring for juniorfaculty researchers. Acad Med 2013;88:488–496. 30. Bussey-Jones J, Bernstein L, Higgins S, et al. Repaving the road to academic success: the IMeRGE approach to peer mentoring. Acad Med 2006;81:674–679. 31. Erlich DR, Cohen-Osher MB, Goodell KH. ‘We rise by lifting others’: peer support and professional development for women in academic medicine. Educ Prim Care 2017;28:291–294. 32. Varkey P, Jatoi A, Williams A, et al. The positive impact of a facilitated peer mentoring program on academic skills of women faculty. BMC Med Educ 2012;12:14.