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AMSPDC has created a mentoring program to help new chairs successfully learn how to develop and oversee the clinical and academic programs within their departments during the initial period (<3yrs) of their appointments. Feedback from 17 new chair participants in the most recent program survey showed that 85% would recommend this program to others in the future, 80% rated the value of the program as good or excellent and 92% rated communication with their mentor as good or excellent. This voluntary program is intended to be helpful.

This program has the following components:

  1. A document that lists all chairs interested in mentoring.
  2. Choosing a mentor:
      • In most cases, the new chair will pick a mentor based on personal history or prior relationship. Some will make this choice on regional proximity or reputation.

    At the request of the new chair, the AMSPDC Chair Mentoring committee can help the new chair:

      • choose a primary mentor
      • determine if additional pediatric chair mentors would be useful and if so arrange for this mentorship team to be formed
    • No more than two new chairs will be assigned to any mentor.
    • In subsequent years, the mentor and new chair would meet annually at the AMSPDC meeting and conference calls would continue as needed.
    • If the new chair and/or mentor determine that their relationship is not working out, either person can contact me to request a person to replace the mentor.
  3. Components of the mentor program:
    • Sometime during the first 12 months after the new chair’s appointment, the mentor would spend ~2 days at the new chair’s medical center. During this time, the mentor would also meet with other key leadership at that academic medical center (e.g., dean, hospital president, medical director, etc.). In addition to this face to face meeting during the first year, there would be conference calls between the mentor and new chair on both a regularly scheduled (e.g., monthly) and as needed basis.
    • Examples of areas to be covered with the new chair would involve management of both clinical and academic activities including:
      • creating win-win situations
      • productivity measures – clinical and academic
      • developing an annual budget
      • developing/refining a practice plan
      • recruiting and retaining faculty
      • dealing with conflict
      • dealing with clinical subspecialty shortages
      • developing clinical outreach programs
      • mentoring faculty in research and education
      • oversight of residency and fellowship programs
      • developing research programs
      • fund raising
      • annual evaluation of faculty
      • effective advocacy:
        • raising the stature of pediatrics at the medical center – working with other department chairs, deans, hospital presidents and other medical center leaders
        • working with outside organizations and government agencies
        • developing and utilizing leadership within the department
        • avoiding burnout by finding balance between work and home
  4. Financing and evaluation of the Chair Mentoring Program
    • AMSPDC will cover up to one-half the cost (maximum $1000) of the travel of the mentor to the new chair’s institution. It is expected that the remaining costs will be covered by the department or dean at that institution.

New Chairs interested in being paired with a mentor and established chairs interesting in mentoring a new colleague should contact the AMSPDC office at

New Chairs Committee Chair: Mitchell B. Cohen, MD, University of Alabama at Birmingham Children’s Hospital

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