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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 2016, Article ID 5260134, 10 pages
Research Article

A National Survey of Mentoring Practices for Young Investigators in Circulatory and Respiratory Health

1Divisions of Cardiology and Clinical Epidemiology, Jewish General Hospital-McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3T 1E2
2Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Jewish General Hospital-McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3T 1E2
3Department of Emergency Medicine, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, QC, Canada H4A 3J1
4Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1A2
5Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0W9
6Montreal Heart Institute, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada H1T 1C8

Received 12 August 2015; Accepted 12 October 2015

Copyright © 2016 Salvatore Mottillo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Improving mentorship may help decrease the shortage of young investigators (graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and new investigators) available to work as independent researchers in cardiovascular and respiratory health. Objectives. To determine (1) the mentoring practices for trainees affiliated with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health (ICRH), (2) the positive attributes of mentors, and (3) the recommendations regarding what makes good mentorship. Methods. We conducted a survey and descriptive analysis of young investigators with a CIHR Training and Salary Award from 2010 to 2013 or who submitted an abstract to the ICRH 2014 Young Investigators Forum. Clinicians were compared to nonclinicians. Results. Of 172 participants, 7.0% had no mentor. Only 43.6% had defined goals and 40.7% had defined timelines, while 54.1% had informal forms of mentorship. A significant proportion (33.1%) felt that their current mentorship did not meet their needs. Among clinicians, 22.2% would not have chosen the same mentor again versus 11.4% of nonclinicians. All participants favored mentors who provided guidance on career and work-life balance. Suggestions for improved mentoring included formal mentorship, increased networking, and quality assurance. Conclusion. There is an important need to improve mentoring in cardiovascular and respiratory health.