Massachusetts Medical Society: MMS Physician-to-Physician Mentorship Pilot Program Takes Off!

MMS Physician-to-Physician Mentorship Pilot Program Takes Off!

Mentorship Illustration
Illustration by Chris Twichell

The members of the Massachusetts Medical Society are its most valuable asset. With two critical strategic MMS priorities being leadership development and member engagement, the MMS launched a pilot one-on-one mentorship program earlier this calendar year. The purpose of the pilot was to test the new program’s ability to match early-career MMS members with experienced physician mentors who could provide guidance for professional and personal development toward overcoming obstacles, and ultimately toward finding satisfaction and success in their careers.

Dr. Faith Omede
Dr. Faith Omede

Response of mentors and mentees at the conclusion of the pilot suggests the start of a program that has staying power. “I jumped on the opportunity to create time to connect with someone,” says Faith Omede, MD, a primary care physician and addiction medicine specialist in the Mass General Brigham (MGB) North Shore Physicians Group. He graduated from medical school outside the United States and then completed an internal medicine residency and an addiction medicine fellowship with MGB hospitals. Once in practice, he felt a lack of work colleagues. “A lot of time we’re siloed, and I didn’t connect much with others,” Dr. Omede explains. “I wanted to expand my reach with physicians in other systems.”

“ . . .Realizing You’re Not Alone and Can Speak About Issues”

His mentor was Hugh Taylor, MD, a board-certified family physician who has practiced at Beverly Hospital for nearly 40 years. In monthly in-person meetings, Dr. Omede shared what was on his mind.

Dr. Hugh Taylor
Dr. Hugh Taylor

“My experience with the mentorship was realizing you’re not alone and can speak about issues. You can grab a cup of coffee and talk about these things,” Dr. Omede says. “Gleaning from [Dr. Taylor’s] experience and wisdom, I learned ways to deal with work-life balance.”

Dr. Taylor, the current MMS president-elect, says, “We discussed his professional situations, what his goals are, and the available accelerators and blocks to his goals.”

Such frank conversations with a mentor, Dr. Omede says, “may [even] be a way to tackle burnout. It improves your quality of life to be able to draw on a mentor’s wisdom and to be able to share in confidence.”

The MMS has a long history of informal mentoring for its members. Be it an experienced MMS committee member who helps a new committee member become familiar with writing proposed policy; a District or Section member who introduces an early-career physician to the leadership opportunities available in organized medicine; or a resident who advises a medical student on matching into a specific specialty, MMS members readily share their experience with those who welcome it.

More targeted opportunities for mentorship have also evolved, with the MMS, its Women Physicians Section, Committee on Diversity in Medicine, Minority Affairs Section, Committee on Senior Physicians, and other groups offering panel sessions, round tables, and networking events for members to meet and learn from each other.

Match-Making Algorithms Paired Mentors and Mentees

In 2022, these same sections/committees, plus the MMS Committee on LGBTQ Matters, Early Career Physician Section, International Medical Graduates Section, Resident and Fellow Section, and Medical Student Section, were each asked to appoint a representative to a short-term MMS Advisory Council that would guide the implementation of a formalized pilot mentoring program.

These advisors provided valuable input into what criteria would ultimately be used to match the 22 mentor-mentee dyads and how those criteria would be weighted. At the same time, the MMS chose a customized online platform that included a matching algorithm and other features to help facilitate the mentoring experience.

The pilot program focused on supporting early-career physician members from underrepresented demographic groups. At the recommendation of other organizations that had developed mentoring programs, it was limited to under 25 mentor-mentee dyads.

MMS early-career physician members who completed training in Massachusetts in the past two years and remained in the state were invited to be mentees in the pilot. Invitations for potential mentors were extended to MMS physician leaders who were identified as individuals who could share expertise, information, advice, encouragement, and support and then provide feedback on how to improve the program for the future.

The pilot program, which ran from March to mid-summer, was intended to test the entire process — intake information/forms, the matching process, mentees’ independent goal setting, the mentoring provided, and the self-direction of the program. The pilot’s short timeframe was to allow for feedback to be collected and incorporated into a longer mentoring session starting this fall.

When mentors and mentees were surveyed about their experiences at the conclusion of the March–July 2023 pilot, approximately three-quarters of participants responded and overall provided positive and thoughtful feedback. Several individuals affirmed the importance of mentorship and encouraged the MMS to continue and expand the program. All respondents, with one exception, said they would consider participating again.

One anonymous respondent said, “I appreciated meeting with a mentor outside of my immediate work environment. . . . I felt able to be more vulnerable about career challenges or struggles and could get a more objective outside opinion.” While the mentor-mentee dyads set goals at the outset, the responder noted that “the most beneficial discussions were often more related to moments when I brought up recent challenges or barriers I was encountering in real time.”

Pilot Moves Ahead

Key lessons from the pilot are now being incorporated into the full-length program, including prioritizing geographic proximity to enable in-person meetings; asking mentees about their challenges and goals (personally and professionally) at the outset to ensure that a mentor has relevant experience; refining the platform’s matching algorithms; and highlighting to participants the expected time commitment.

This next iteration of the mentoring program begins this month and will end in June. The mentee pool continues to focus on MMS members who are from underrepresented groups or are women and who completed training within the prior five years.

The pilot was a step toward making mentorship more accessible to our members and to test the viability of an ongoing program in which the Society provides a mentoring framework, and the physicians take it from there. Dr. Taylor is urging the expansion and continuation of the program.

“Both my mentee and I found this to be a valuable experience,” he says. “Whenever I discuss the MMS mentorship program with younger physicians, I hear a strong interest in taking part. I am convinced that there is a need for and hunger for mentorship among many young physicians and that the MMS will be doing a great service to its members by expanding the program.”

If you are interested in being added to the pool of potential mentors, email

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