Mentors’ perspectives on the successes and challenges of mentoring in the COG Young Investigator mentorship program: A report from the Children's Oncology Group

Adam J. Esbenshade, Lisa S. Kahalley, Reto Baertschiger, Roshni Dasgupta, Kelly C. Goldsmith, Paul C. Nathan, Paul Harker-Murray, Carrie L. Kitko, Edward Anders Kolb, Erin S. Murphy, Jodi A. Muscal, Christopher R. Pierson, Damon Reed, Reuven Schore, Yoram Unguru, Rajkumar Venkatramani, Birte Wistinghausen, Girish Dhall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Identification and development of young investigators (YI) is critical to the long-term success of research organizations. In 2004, the Children's Oncology Group (COG) created a mentorship program to foster the career development of YIs (faculty <10 years from initial appointment). This study sought to assess mentors’ long-term assessment of this program. Procedure: In 2018, 101 past or current mentors in the COG YI mentorship program completed an online survey. Statistical comparisons were made with the Kruskal-Walis test. Results: The response rate was 74.2%. As some mentors had multiple mentees, we report on 138 total mentee-mentor pairs. Mentors were 57.4% male, and mentees were 39.1% male. Mentors rated being mentored as a YI as important with a median rating of 90 on a scale of 1-100, interquartile range (IQR) 80-100. Most mentors reported that being mentored themselves helped their own success within COG (78.2%) and with their overall career development (92.1%). Most mentors enjoyed serving in the program (72.3%) and the median success rating (on a scale of 1-100) across the mentor-mentee pairings was 75, IQR 39-90. Success ratings did not differ by mentor/mentee gender, but improved with increased frequency of mentor-mentee interactions (P <.001). Mentor-mentee pairs who set initial goals reported higher success ratings than those who did not (P <.001). Tangible successes included current mentee COG committee involvement (45.7%), ongoing mentor-mentee collaboration (53.6%), and co-authored manuscript publication (38.4%). Conclusion: These data indicate that mentorship is important for successful professional development. Long-term mentoring success improves when mentors and mentees set goals upfront and meet frequently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere27920
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019



  • career development
  • Children's Oncology Group
  • mentorship
  • pediatric oncology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology

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