As National Mentoring Month continues, we take a moment to reflect on the heightened importance of mentors for a workforce that reflects the diverse communities we serve throughout NYC.
Mentoring can be described as both “a coaching and an educational role, requiring a generosity of time, empathy, a willingness to share knowledge and skills, and an enthusiasm for teaching and the success of others.” The value of this kind of mentorship within healthcare training is “well recognized” among experts, and it is especially true for groups that have been historically underrepresented in the profession.
Mentoring is critical for raising equity in healthcare professions. According to a survey of U.S. medical faculty, those filling mentorship roles have typically been “predominately white men.” However, women mentees tend to gravitate towards women mentors despite their scarcity, and women reported that “a mentor of the same gender would be more understanding.” It is not surprising, then, that women in medicine report having a lower rate of mentorship than their male counterparts. Similarly, in a survey of OB-GYNs in the U.S., “African-Americans were more likely than other racial groups to report that a same-race mentor would be more understanding.” In other words, a lack of representation among mentoring options can create an “obstacle for mentees who perceive that their views or situations may not be easily or properly discerned by a mentor from a different ethnic background or gender.”
Effective mentorship doesn’t shy away from equity, diversity, or justice. Instead, recent evidence suggests that successful mentorship confronts and navigates these issues, reducing stereotype effects, affirming a sense of belonging, and contributing to “fuller representation of individuals from underrepresented groups”.
We know that life and career benefits are associated with mentorship, for both mentors and mentees, which is why PAGNY invests in high-quality professional development and mentoring. We are proud to support all of our professionals throughout their career with growth opportunities, and we know that effective mentorship helps them to deliver exceptional service and culturally competent health care to all New Yorkers. By emphasizing equity in all aspects of our organization, PAGNY ensures that any professional has the chance to fulfill their most ambitious potential.