NIH IRP and Office for Scientific Workforce Diversity Hold April 2016 Series of Workshops led by Dr. Christine Pfund with Dr. Dennis Durban

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Contributed by NRMN

One goal of the Mentor Training Core of NRMN is to improve mentoring relationships through research mentor training. This goal is shared by the NIH Intramural Research Program ("NIH IRP"). Thus, over two days in early April 2016, the NIH arranged three workshops led by Dr. Christine Pfund, Director of the NRMN Mentor Training Core.  The first workshop was sponsored by the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP); the second and third were sponsored by the NIH Office for Scientific Workforce Diversity.

The workshops resembled those being offered nationally through NRMN, which draw from evidence-based curricula supported by a wide-range of sources over the past decade, including the National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Science Foundation, UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, the Delta Program, the Center for Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning, the Wisconsin Program for Scientific Teaching, WISCIENCE, and the National Research Mentoring Network

The first workshop (Wednesday, April 6th), entitled "Improving Research Mentoring Relationships in Your Institute", was held for the NIH Intramural Research Program Training Directors, a trans-NIH group of approximately 25 staff who oversee scientific training in the individual Institutes and Centers. The session began in the morning with an exploration of ways in which research mentoring relationships across the Intramural Research Program can be improved.  Participants discussed what has worked and not worked in the past, and set priorities for concerns that need addressing. 

After reviewing some of the current research on training interventions for mentors and mentees, Dr. Pfund shared portions of the evidence-based research mentor training curricula offered through the Mentor Training Core at NRMN and through her newly established Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experience in Research (CIMER).

In the afternoon, participants reconvened to review different options for implementing mentor training across the Intramural Research Program and worked in small groups to begin developing concrete plans. Follow-up assessment will track what training activities are implemented within the NIH Intramural Research Program over the next few years.

On Thursday, April 7th, Dr. Pfund was joined by Dr. Dennis Durban, and together they co-facilitated two three-hour mentor training sessions for groups of NIH Principal Investigators and other scientists.  Dr. Durban is Director of the Office of Clinical and Translational Research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and is also one of NRMN's Master Facilitators.

Each session began with an introduction to Research Mentor Training and covered the following research mentorship topics: Aligning Expectations, Maintaining Effective Communication,  Fostering Independence, and an overview of Resources for Mentors and Mentees.

Participants at each session reviewed some of the basic skills required for building effective research mentoring relationships and deepened their toolbox of good mentoring practices. The facilitators also reviewed new training modules being developed, tested, and disseminated through NRMN that focus on Work-Life Integration, Promoting Mentee Research Self-Efficacy, and Culturally Responsive Mentoring.

The opportunity for leaders from NRMN to partner with leaders from the NIH Intramural Research Program is exciting, and we look forward to continued collaborations.


The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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