CUMC faculty members were honored with the first campus-wide mentorship awards presented by the Office of Academic Affairs and the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at a luncheon on Dec. 10.
“Mentors can have a tremendous impact on the careers of students and young investigators,” said Melissa Begg, ScD, co-director of the Irving Institute, “and their extraordinary work is often done quietly, modestly, and without any demonstrable reward. We wanted to change that.”
The inaugural Mentor of the Year Award was presented to Elizabeth Shane, MD, professor and vice-chair for clinical and epidemiological research in the Department of Medicine.
In their nomination letters, Dr. Shane’s mentees wrote that she is endlessly generous with her time, professional knowledge, and emotional support; builds confidence and independence; and does not aggressively lead you in one direction, but instead logically lays out options based on what she knows about the person’s skills and personality. In the words of one nominator, she has “changed the course of my career.”
Dr. Shane also co-directs the Young Faculty Mentoring Program in the Department of Medicine and works diligently to find the perfect collaborator for each mentee.
Three faculty mentors received Honorable Mentions (excerpts from their nomination letters appear in quotes):
Suzanne Bakken, RN, PhD, Alumni Professor of Nursing and professor of biomedical informatics, “has the respect of her mentees and colleagues not only for her tremendous expertise in the field, but also for her extreme compassion for others. Dr. Bakken’s mentoring does not cease upon graduation; she pushes her students to the edge, but knows when to stop.”
J. Thomas Bigger Jr., MD, professor of medicine and pharmacology “never makes mentoring seem like a burden and he treats his mentees and colleagues like family. He avoids prescriptive advice, instead letting his mentees reason through the process so that solutions come from within.”
Frances Levin, MD, Kennedy Leavy Professor of Clinical Psychiatry “is a wonderful sounding board and role model for those juggling career and family, but she is equally effective at providing encouragement and assistance at all stages of academic development. She builds self-reliance by working with mentees in a collaborative research partnership rather than a traditional mentor/mentee relationship.”
At the same luncheon, the Irving Institute also honored 68 pilot award recipients from the following programs: 2007-2011 Collaborative and Multidisciplinary Pilot Research (CaMPR) Phase I planning grants; 2012 CaMPR Phase II pilot awards; 2011 and 2012 Irving Institute/Clinical Trials Office pilot awards; and 2009 and 2012 Imaging Core pilot awards.
The Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Columbia University Medical Center is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program, grant UL1 TR00040. The CTSA program is led by the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).