Mentorship and Advising Program to help pave way

June 11, 2015

Medical education is a fascinating and rewarding path, yet the path is long and can test the endurance and strength of even the most talented and committed students.

The Mentorship and Advising Program of Indiana University School of Medicine was designed by students and faculty to smooth that path for learners. Through holistic support, undergraduate medical students have access to career planning, self-assessment, advising, mentoring and insights into the many career options in health care. While IUSM has long offered mentoring and advising support for MS4 students, the program is newly expanded with additional resources and a robust plan throughout the academic career under the leadership of Abigail Klemsz, M.D., associate professor of clinical pediatrics, and Michael McKenna, M.D., assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, as part of their roles in Medical Student Education.

IUSM’s new Mentorship and Advising Program aims to support learners throughout their academic career. Dr. Michael McKenna, center, who is one of the leaders of the MAP initiative, speaks with medical students Rohan Maniar, left,  and Michael Isaacs. | Photo By TIM YATES

"Thanks to student and faculty input, we have refined our program to meet learner needs in a substantive and measurable way," Dr. Klemsz said. "Ultimately, we want to demonstrate that these relationships, and the time invested in them, are benefiting our students and, ultimately, patient care.”

As a complement to MAP, student-designed houses and colleges -- which provide a community-based approach to medical education -- will be designated with the goal of developing vertical mentorship, wellness, humanism, friendly competition and a statewide sense of belonging. The houses and colleges will utilize the structure and advising assignments associated with MAP.

Enhanced resources

IUSM has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to developing positive mentor relationships for students to support their academic and career success by providing MAP with:

  • A leadership cabinet designed to support advisors and mentors.
  • Streamlined roles for advisors and mentors that emphasize learner time and minimize administrative matters.
  • Tools and resources to support mentors and advisors.

Why mentoring and advising?

Students with mentors perform better as students and in their careers. Studies show that those enrolled in a mentor program:

  • Were more satisfied with access to career mentoring, elective advice for scheduling and the residency application process.
  • Valued the ongoing contact with faculty members and experienced better research opportunities.
  • Enjoyed improved medical school performance, increased interest in research and aspired to a better medical career.
  • Felt more support at a personal level and rated their overall well-being as higher.

How can faculty get involved?

Complete the short form.

About the roles

Lead Academic Advisors: Provide support for 24 to 36 students per class year through all four years of the student’s medical school career. This will be a full-time position for an M.D., Ph.D. or M.S. faculty member with experience in student advising. 

Volunteer Faculty Advisors: Shepherd four students through their medical school career providing one-on-one mentoring and a social connection to IUSM. These volunteer faculty advisors will work in partnership with professional lead academic advisors to oversee a cohort of medical learners. Advisors serve as positive medical role models, exploring challenges and seeking solutions with (not for) the learners, and encouraging medical students to strive for excellence.