Glob Public Health 2016 10 3;11(9):1093-108. Epub 2015 Aug 3.
h ESE:O , Santiago , Chile.
Mentoring experiences and programmes are becoming increasingly recognised as important by those engaged in capacity strengthening in global health research. Using a primarily qualitative study design, we studied three experiences of mentorship and eight mentorship programmes for early career global health researchers based in high-income and low- and middle-income countries. For the latter, we drew upon programme materials, existing unpublished data and more formal mixed-method evaluations, supplemented by individual email questionnaire responses. Research team members wrote stories, and the team assembled and analysed them for key themes. Across the diverse experiences and programmes, key emergent themes included: great mentors inspire others in an inter-generational cascade, mentorship is transformative in personal and professional development and involves reciprocity, and finding the right balance in mentoring relationships and programmes includes responding creatively to failure. Among the challenges encountered were: struggling for more level playing fields for new health researchers globally, changing mindsets in institutions that do not have a culture of mentorship and building collaboration not competition. Mentoring networks spanning institutions and countries using multiple virtual and face-to-face methods are a potential avenue for fostering organisational cultures supporting quality mentorship in global health research.
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