Launch a Robust Mentorship Network
NMF is building a formal mentorship program that will make it easier for alumni and students to connect, receive support, and learn from one another. The goal is to offer a wide array of mentorship opportunities by program specialty and geographic region. Studies, including a 2013 Academic Medicine literature review about mentoring in academic medical centers, show that mentorship and networking richly support career advancement and professional resiliency — and emphatically for those underrepresented in medicine. The need is urgent. Health care is a challenging field, but BIPOC practitioners carry with them the burden of a lifetime of racial trauma, while also experiencing ongoing racism from colleagues and patients.
Traditional medical school funding practices have made it challenging for NMF to connect with its alumni. Historically, some NMF scholarships were awarded by educational institutions as part of financial aid packages, so scholars often did not know their education had been supported by NMF. To be a part of a community, one must know one belongs. While NMF has contact information for roughly 15,000 alumni, its total alumni population numbers more than 32,000 and continues to expand. This untapped pool of alumni offers exciting opportunities for growing engagement and deepening the reach of the mentorship network.
- We will empower NMF’s National Alumni Council and Young Leaders Council to create a caring and connected network of alumni. NMF will engage its alumni and scholars to provide them with robust racial-informed care supports, enhanced networking, career guidance, and life and leadership essentials.
- We will build opportunities by specialty for alumni and students to connect, share knowledge, and advance their careers.
- We will explore digital platforms to facilitate virtual learning, career advancement, debt management, retirement planning, the business of doctoring, networking, community building, and other matters.
- We will recognize and call attention to employers of choice for our scholars and alumni. These institutions and health care systems will have demonstrated track records of achieving diversity through recruitment, retention, and matriculation efforts, as well as strong investments in creating inclusive environments of belonging.
- We will formalize and implement a volunteer protocol to govern alumni and volunteer engagement, and to set clear expectations around roles, responsibilities, and best practices.
- We will engage data-enrichment services and our alumni network to find and locate alumni and invite BIPOC medical providers to discover if they were a beneficiary of NMF support.