The ASRA Pain Medicine Mentor Match – Building a Society Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Register as a MENTEE AND MENTOR NOW at Mentor Match Program
For those under 40, the sitcom Cheers was a television staple between 1982 and 1993 that ultimately led to the production of 275 episodes for NBC. This was an era when Thursday nights were sacrosanct, and our lives were scheduled around the offerings of “must-see TV.” If you were unable to watch an episode live, you risked missing out on the story and enduring being that one person unable to join in on the conversation the next day. Part of what made Cheers so great was the theme song heralding the start of each episode that promised Cheers as a bar where everyone was welcome and as a place “where everybody knows your name.” The sentiment the show’s writers attempted to induce was that, for all of us, there is an innate need for understanding and acceptance and, once found, a group of supportive people who can improve happiness, offer guidance, and better our lives.
88% of responders reported that this interaction resulted in significant contributions to their career success
In a similar fashion, the ASRA Pain Medicine Physician Mentorship and Leadership Development Special Interest Group (SIG) was created to provide a sense of community and guidance for private practitioners and faculty of all career levels within the society. This mission is, in part, fulfilled through the creation of the ASRA Pain Medicine Mentor Match Program. The ASRA Pain Medicine Mentor Match Program launched in March of 2020 and created matches from institutions throughout the country based on the needs of each mentee and the expertise of volunteer mentors. The goals included career development, research advancement, clinical program innovation, enhanced camaraderie, greater connections between individuals, and improved well-being by demonstrating that “our troubles are all the same.”
Recently, the first round of the ASRA Pain Medicine Mentor Match Program was completed and a survey of match participants revealed some interesting and supportive trends. Prior to the mentor match, almost 80% of faculty reported that they had experienced difficulties establishing mentor relationships in the past five years of their career. Simultaneously, 100% of survey respondents (82/82) reported that a mentoring relationship would improve their career success and 99% of respondents reported that a mentoring relationship outside of their home institution offers significant career advantages. Over 60% of respondents reported that their home institution did not offer any formal mentorship programs, which is unfortunate since 91% of respondents reported that these programs would not only help in their career development but would also be helpful in improving their personal lives and work/life balance.
Involvement of mentors at different career levels and in a diversity of clinical practice settings is critically vital to further the program's growth.
The first round of the ASRA Pain Medicine Mentor Match program ran for nine months, and, following this program, 72% of mentees were extremely satisfied with the program and 96% were at least moderately satisfied. Furthermore, 88% of responders reported that this interaction resulted in significant contributions to their career success. Beyond forming connections with more experienced faculty from outside of their home institutions, this program has resulted in research collaborations, visiting professor invitations, support through the promotion and tenure process, and numerous introductions and opportunities. Following this first round, 100% of mentees reported that they would seek out another ASRA Pain Medicine mentorship opportunity. What is amazing about these results is that such success was achievable in the setting of COVID- related travel restrictions and that most of these mentor/mentee meetings occurred via virtual meetings only.
Clearly, the benefits of the ASRA Pain Medicine Mentor Match program to early-career faculty and clinicians and fellows is clear and substantially beneficial. However, what is critically vital to further program establishment and continued growth is involvement of mentors at different career levels and in a diversity of clinical practice settings. This program needs fellows to serve as mentors for residents considering pursuing a fellowship and career in regional anesthesia or chronic pain management. This program needs early-career faculty and clinicians to mentor fellows on how to select a place of employment and make early strides in their career. This program needs mid-career faculty and clinicians to mentor early-career individuals on the steps they need to take to ensure promotion and how to balance increasing work responsibilities with family and well-being efforts. Finally, what we really need is our late-career or recently retired faculty and clinicians to mentor the mid-career individuals on how to take steps to become leaders, cultivate their mentorship skills, and ensure that they are poised to become the future leaders needed by ASRA Pain Medicine.
With a society as large and far-reaching as ASRA Pain Medicine, it is hard for everybody to know your name. However, the ASRA Pain Medicine Mentor Match Program ensures that ASRA Pain Medicine members at every level will create connections that extend beyond their institutional boundaries, build relationships that will help launch and strengthen career growth trajectories, foster friendships that will improve well-being, nurture advancement, and ensure that there is someone at every meeting that is “always glad you came.”
Call to Action Points:
- Register as a MENTEE in the ASRA Pain Medicine Mentor Match Program
- Register as a MENTOR in the ASRA Pain Medicine Mentor Match Program
- Encourage your colleagues and friends to register as MENTEES AND MENTORS in the ASRA Pain Medicine Mentor Match Program
I am a junior pediatric anesthesiologist with a regional and pain management focus. I was fortunate to apply for the ASRA Pain Medicine mentorship program during its first installation. After sharing my career goals and CV with ASRA Pain Medicine, I was paired with the perfect mentor, Dr. Corrie Anderson. During our first meeting (via zoom), Dr. Anderson methodologically reviewed my CV, asked questions, and provided goals for our 3-month, 6-month and 1-year meetings. He was insightful, friendly, and willing to help. He provided constructive critique and introduced me to platforms and programs that will further support my goals. I cannot applaud the ASRA PAIN MEDICINE mentor pairing process and program enough. I have since optimized my career trajectory and continue to receive counsel from my [mentor]. My response to anyone considering the Mentor Match Program is "Just Do It."
Karla Wyatt, MD, MS, FAAP
The Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine
Regional Anesthesiology and Acute Pain Service
Baylor College of Medicine
Texas Children's Hospital
The ASRA Pain Medicine Mentor Match launched at a perfect time during my fellowship preparation. I forged a strong relationship with Dr. Hariharan Shankar over several Zoom and phone discussions. His periodic reviews of my CV helped structure my goals and provided confidence in my journey. At the annual ASRA Pain Medicine conference, he provided personal introductions to many fellowship program faculty and pain physicians. His advocacy was only possible with the Mentor Match program!
Benjamin Gill, DO, MBA
Pain Medicine Fellowship Applicant 2022