• Provide role-specific resources for both the mentor/mentee, sponsor/protégé, and advisor/advisee to maximize.
  • Reflect on your own life to identify people in these roles in your family life, career, personal life, etc.
  • Mentor, sponsor, and advise others; set a precise goal for a number of individuals you will reach out to mentor/sponsor/advise and meet regularly.


  1. Define mentorship, advisorship and sponsorship
  2. Understand and reflect on gender differences among mentorship/sponsorship relationships and how these can be optimized.
  3. Devise and implement specific mentorship/sponsorship strategies in your plan based on challenges relevant to your situation.

Module Content


The Relationship You Need to Get Right

Objective: 1
Sylvia Ann Hewlett,Melinda Marshall and Laura Sherbin "
5 minutes

This article provides a more in depth evaluation of the role of the sponsor and the sponsored, including a short checklist, and a development of characteristics not offered in the other articles on this topic.

A Review of Mentoring in Academic Medicine

Objective: 1
Stephen A. Geraci, MD and S. Calvin Thigpen, MD
5 minutes

A must-read primer for any person attempting to create a mentorship program at their respective institution, with myriad references to other key articles on this subject. A comprehensive, albeit relatively brief, academic "review" of mentorship definitions, methods, and programs in academic medicine. Delineates the optimal qualities to look for within individuals who are being recruited for mentorship/sponsorship and advising positions within an academic program, useful for recruitment. *Not open-access.*

Defining the Roles of Advisors and Mentors in Postgraduate Medical Education: Faculty Perceptions, Roles, Responsibilities, and Resource Needs

Objective: 1
Suzanne K. Woods, MD, Leigh Burgess, MHA, MEd, Catherine Kaminetzky, MD, MPH, Diana McNeill, MD, Sandro Pinheiro, PhD, and Mitchell T. Heflin, MD, MHS
10 minutes

Describes mentorship vs advising in an academic program and provides readers a curriculum outlines and scaffold of questions the authors used to develop and evaluate their faculty advisors. Categorizes advisors into various groups based on the objective that best suits the advisors, and would enable the cultivation of a group of mentors for each advisee.

Mentorship Is Not Enough: Exploring Sponsorship and Its Role in Career Advancement in Academic Medicine.

Objective: 1
Ayyala, Manasa S. MD; Skarupski, Kimberly PhD, MPH; Bodurtha, Joann N. MD, MPH; Gonzalez-Fernandez, Marlis MD, PhD; Ishii, Lisa E. MD, MHS; Fivush, Barbara MD; Levine, Rachel B. MD, MPH
15 minutes

This article is a qualitative sponsorship study that elucidates many key differences between sponsorship and mentorship, and gives an excellent overview of the importance of sponsorship in the advancement of the careers of protégés. The authors include numerous memorable quotes, making this piece an excellent journal club choice for familiarizing participants with the concept of sponsorship. *Not open access*

Women Are Over-Mentored (But Under-Sponsored)

Objective: 1
Herminia Ibarra
15 minutes

Women have twice as many mentors as men, and only half the sponsors, and yet sponsorship is key to getting developmental assignments and promotion, This is a brief podcast and transcript of Harvard Business Review discussing how to obtain and promote sponsorship. It is not specific to medicine, but is an overview on how sponsorship needs to be more deliberate and focused than mentorship, and thus how it can result in more opportunities.

How Men Can Excel as Mentors of Women

Objective: 2
Janet Bickel
5 minutes

A short read on the difference between men mentoring men and men mentoring women. It offers constructive insight into how men, both new docs and more seasoned ones, can support women as mentees, and how women can avoid some of the traps that predispose the pitfalls of male-female mentorship.

Tackling the Sponsorship Gap for Women in Medicine in the #MeToo Era

Objective: 2
Vineet Arora
8 minutes

This brief article provides direct and practical tips women can implement in order to maximize opportunities for leadership and seek out sponsorships in medicine. It also talks briefly about the implications of the #metoo movement in this. A worthwhile link in this article is to the Annals of Internal medicine article that discusses how women do not share their accomplishments nearly as loudly or as frequently as men, and this results in their voices not getting heard.

An Innovative Educational and Mentorship Program for Emergency Medicine Women Residents to Enhance Academic Development and Retention

Objective: 2
Kriti Bhatia, MD, James Kimo Takayesu, MD, MSc, Christian Arbelaez, MD, MPH, David Peak, MD and Eric S. Nadel, MD
10 minutes

This article is a brief report of a model mentorship program developed for female EM residents in a way that benefits their careers in academic EM while allowing for maximal participation from EM residents given their demanding schedules. The overview details the main themes covered over the course of the program, and efforts made by the planners to facilitate residents' participation both in groups and individually.

Athena Rising

Objective: 2
Brad Johnson and David Smith
195 pages

Many, if not most women, have men as mentors in their career endeavors at some point. Men are critical as allies, sponsors and mentors. This book, a compelling look at this topic, a primer on why and how men should mentor women. Written by a sociologist and psychologist from the US Naval Academy. While it might be seen as "manual for men", it gives women perspective on how to cultivate a cross-gender mentoring relationship. No time for the book? Listen to this podcast When men mentor women https://hbr.org/ideacast/2018/10/when-men-mentor-women.html

Sponsorship: a path to the academic medicine C-suite for women faculty?

Objective: 3
Elizabeth L. Travis, PhD, Leilani Doty, PhD and Deborah L. Helitzer, ScD
5 minutes

From Academic Medicine about academic medicine, this is a charge to those in key roles to think about academia as the business world has done around this topic. It also discussed coaching v. sponsorship.

The mentor-mentee relationship in academic medicine

Objective: 3
Mark O. Baerlochera, JeremyO'Brien, Marshall Newton, Tina Gautam, and Jason Noblee
10 minutes

Brief article discussing the potential for mentee abuse in mentorship relationships. Advises the mentee to watch for mentor abuse, specifically a prolonged mentor-mentee relationship and failure of separation, feeling inappropriately obligated to include mentor as an author on a paper, and asking for performance of work beyond what should be expected. The article advises that it is up to the mentor to ultimately end the relationship in a timely manner and cautions against unmerited authorship. *Not open access*

Talking Points and Discussion Questions

  1. Who in your life and career are advisors?

  2. Who in your life are mentors? In what venues?

  3. Who are your sponsors?

  4. For whom have you been a mentor? If you are not one, why not?

  5. For whom have you been a sponsor? If you are not one, why not?

  6. When have you had a mentorship relationship that didn’t work out? Why?

  7. What has been a limiting factor for you in developing mentors/sponsors?

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