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Remote Mentorship in Radiation Oncology: Lessons to Share

Authors: Crystal Seldon, MD, Winnifred Wong, DO, Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil, Jennifer Croke, MD, Anna Lee, MD, MPH, and Lindsay Pukett, MD

Mentorship is a key factor in promoting and maintaining fulfillment in medical practice. Finding mentors has been noted as a challenge for women in radiation oncology given low representation in the field . Remote mentorship seems an ideal solution to connect women mentors and mentees. In 2018, the Society for Women in Radiation Oncology (SWRO) founded a mentorship program to fill this unmet need, creating over 100 pairings. An IRB exempt survey was administered to program participants from June to July 2020 to access participant experiences. Although a low response rate (22%), a key lesson from our early experience is to recognize the importance of “chemistry.” Several participants noted a lack of “chemistry” with their pairing(s) which led in some cases to the dyad’s demise. Virtual mentorship offers a way to connect individuals across our field and provide the unique specificity needed for enduring impact. The lessons from our experience with encouraging remote mentorship through SWRO may have immediate implications for others considering similar efforts.​

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