July marks a significant transition for those in medical training, as many take their next steps, with some completing their programs and advancing to a new stage of their careers. As this yearly milestone unfolds, I find myself reflecting on my own journey and the important role ACPM has played in shaping it. Through the College, I've cultivated a network of rich, impactful personal and professional relationships. Today, I'd like to share some insights on mentorship and its profound impact on my professional path.

The broad and non-linear nature of Preventive Medicine makes mentorship essential. In our field, mentoring involves dynamic relationships where colleagues guide and support each other, fostering personal and professional growth, enhancing leadership skills and nurturing a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Through mentorship, we gain clarity, confidence and diverse perspectives essential for navigating the intricate landscape of our profession, especially in times of change.

While structured mentorship programs provide a solid foundation, true mentorship transcends these formal arrangements. It's about proactively forging and nurturing meaningful connections that drive personal and professional development.

Mentorship has been a cornerstone of my growth, offering value in several ways:
  • Providing Clarity in Complexity: Open dialogues with mentors have allowed me to step back from intricate situations, comprehend the broader context, explore options and choose paths with confidence and clarity.
  • Catalyzing Transformative Growth: Mentors have helped me better understand my strengths and weaknesses, encouraged honest self-assessment and supported me in taking calculated risks that have accelerated my learning and development.
  • Offering Diverse Perspectives: Some of the most impactful mentorship I've received has come from individuals with backgrounds different from my own - in training, education, age, geography and culture. While experts in my field have been valuable, mentors from diverse backgrounds have offered fresh perspectives, often unlocking solutions I hadn't considered.
I believe we all have a mentor within us, and serving as a mentor ourselves can be an opportunity to make a lasting impact on others and contribute to the growth and resilience of our field. Remember, mentors and guides can come at any age — especially as technology advances. Don't think just because you are mid-career or beyond that you can't learn from someone who may be younger than you. Stay curious, keep learning and ask questions.

In essence, we're all in this together. Even as we pursue our individual careers, our journeys intersect in meaningful ways. Mentorship makes this evident. Many of the lessons we learn have transferable value, and working on projects in isolation without sharing our insights is a loss to others and our profession. Taking the opportunity to connect meaningfully with our colleagues in our field will enrich your professional life, your personal life and our profession as a whole. Cherish and nourish the relationships with people you connect with along the way—even during busy periods. Strive to maintain connections with those who shaped your journey or who you touched, understanding that relationships can evolve with the changing seasons.

The complexity of our health ecosystem demands effective leaders at every level, and through mentorship, we can nurture and develop these leaders. By fostering these relationships, we enhance our individual capabilities, strengthen our collective impact and shape the future of Preventive Medicine.

I challenge you to take action today: Reach out to an old mentor, offer guidance to a colleague or reach out to someone who inspires you! Your next conversation could catalyze transformative change, not just in your career, but in the health of the communities we serve.

Mentorship Quick Tips: Mentorship can take many forms, and while there's no universal approach, clarity of purpose is crucial for both mentor and mentee. These aims can be informal and may evolve, but establishing clear communication is an essential first step.

Here are a few pointers that may help navigate the mentorship journey:
  1. Clarify how this mentor can foster your growth.
  2. Communicate openly and respectfully; don't force the relationship.
  3. Establish a regular communication schedule.
  4. Prepare for and review meetings; set and share clear goals.
  5. Cultivate curiosity, seek new insights and practice active listening.
  6. Maintain flexibility in thinking and approach; embrace a growth mindset.
  7. Foster mutual respect and trust; express genuine appreciation.
  8. Solicit and apply feedback; act on insights gained.
  9. Regularly evaluate and clarify the relationship's direction and goals.
If you share our passion for growing ACPM as our professional home, we invite you to join us on the Membership Committee. Complete the volunteer form and upload a brief statement of interest and CV.

Prasad Acharya 
Chair, Membership Committee
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