Background: Global health education and training experiences are in high demand. Mentorship plays an important role in successful training, but academic institutions often lack formalized mentorship support. This study aimed to evaluate perceptions of global health mentorship across disciplines at Johns Hopkins University and to understand how to better support faculty mentorship for global health training. Methods: This is a retrospective study that used qualitative methods to assess the perceptions of students who participated in the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health (CGH) field placement program from 2011-2013 and CGH faculty who may have served as their mentors. Qualitative data was gathered through 30 individual in-depth interviews and 4 focus groups capturing both faculty and student perspectives. Data were analyzed inductively until thematic saturation was reached; a theoretical model, which we call the “building blocks of global health mentorship” model, emerged to serve as an analytical and synthesizing framework. Findings: A series of factors influenced global health mentorship from an individual to institutional level, including motivation, expectation alignment, finances, time, and knowledge. Both students and faculty reported the importance of motivation and aligned expectations to the mentorship experience and, more broadly, the overseas experience. Mentorship relationships were identified by students and faculty as either a catalyst or a hindrance to the training experience from both a personal and a professional point of view. Many faculty mentioned insufficient institutional support and financial resources, which negatively influenced their capacity to serve as mentors. Conclusions: Many factors, ranging from individual to institutional, influence mentorship for both faculty and students, which in turn influence international experiences. The underlying role of institutional support emerged as a highly salient influencing factor. Global health programs should harness the faculty and students’ motivations and expectations, as well as provide better support to faculty serving as mentors.
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