Advancing Diversity & Inclusion Through Mentoring

International Mentoring Day, celebrated on Jan. 17, coincides with Muhammad Ali’s birthday. Interestingly, this holiday also reflects his legacy of advancing diversity and inclusion on a global scale through formal and informal mentoring.

In medicine – and especially in cardiology – good mentorship is not only crucial for professional development, but also for promoting a more diverse and equitable workforce.

Much of our success at a professional level, and often times at a personal level, are a result of meaningful impact created by good mentorship. While the bulk of attention has been traditionally given to mentorship during residency, fellowship and at early career levels, the importance of mentorship in navigating one’s mid- and late-career stages cannot be understated. And for women in cardiology, this necessity is multiplied by a few folds.

Mentor-mentee relationships can take on a variety of forms – often times, they develop informally, with a mentee seeking out a suitable mentor from among their senior colleagues. In some institutes, mentees are assigned mentors, or supervisors, who play an advisory role. While some of us may have only had a single mentor, others have benefited from the advice of multiple mentors for various domains. Given the vast benefits of structured mentoring, and the overwhelming success of such programs in the corporate world, more and more organizations and professional societies within cardiology have launched mentor-match programmes.

The two of us were extremely fortunate to be matched as part of the Women as One 2021 Escalator Awards in the mentor-match category. In addition to the remarkable mentorship, over the last year we have also further delved into mentorship as a tool for professional and personal development for cardiologists. While it is often said that women are over-mentored and under-sponsored, we found there was little data on global mentorship trends and needs within cardiology, as well as whether different approaches should be adopted to support mentorship programs for men vs. women, with consideration for different countries, cultures, socio-demographics and ethnicities.

With a view to building a culturally nimble mentorship toolkit, we launched our Global Mentorship Survey in Cardiology, a brief, easy-to-answer survey which takes less than five minutes to complete, where we ask respondents about their current mentorship relationships and what they consider the ideal mentorship relationship. You can find the survey here.

The best mentor-mentee relationship is extremely special. Mentoring women in cardiology is an essential tool for reducing the gender gap in cardiology. And if you’re lucky, it becomes the most beautiful amalgamation of friendship, support and guidance.

Learn more about what ACC's Diversity and Inclusion Committee is doing to help diversify the cardiovascular workforce.


This article was authored by F. Aaysha Cader, MBBS, MD (Twitter: @aayshacader) and Shrilla Banerjee, MB, ChB (Twitter: @ShrillaB).

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