Developed primarily for minorities and women, the AAOS Mentoring Program encourages medical students to pursue rewarding careers in orthopaedic surgery. By pairing each participant with an experienced orthopaedic surgeon who is able to provide career guidance and uniquely personal advice, the program helps candidates successfully prepare for this diverse and challenging field.
AAOS fellows are strongly encouraged to participate in the program as mentors.
“The mentoring program is a wonderful opportunity for you to develop a meaningful relationship with a medical student as well as other orthopaedic surgeons in your area,” says Ramon L. Jimenez, MD, chair of the Diversity Advisory Board.
10 steps to good mentoring
What exactly is expected of a mentor? To make the mentoring experience as rewarding as possible for both the medical student and the mentor, the Diversity Advisory Board offers the following guidelines:
- Make the first phone call! Many first and second year medical students are overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information they have to absorb. Take the lead in establishing contact and building a relationship with your assigned medical student.
- Plan to talk with your student at least once or twice a month.
- Make scheduling time together a priority. Let your student know when you are available to talk, and find days and times that work best for both of you.
- Invite your medical student to visit and spend a day shadowing you if possible. Students find this type of practical interaction extremely helpful. Arrange for your student to accompany you on rounds, view an orthopaedic procedure, or even observe a “typical” day in your practice.
- Introduce your student to important people in your career, such as your residency program chair, orthopaedic colleagues, and any other individuals who may be good resources.
- Try to plan a group meeting of mentors and students within driving distance. To receive an updated list of the Mentoring Program mentors and students, call the Academy at (800) 626-6726 or (847) 384-4163.
- Take the lead in building relationships with medical students. Learn about their families, explore their interest in orthopaedics (as well as other interests), and background. Share your background and experiences, as well.
- Help the student anticipate potential “hurdles” in the residency placement process and be candid when discussing how to best navigate these hurdles. You may find the article, “How to Obtain an Orthopaedic Residency,” (included in the Mentor’s Kit or available online at www.aaos.org/diversity), helpful.
- Help facilitate, arrange, and direct involvement in some area of musculoskeletal research between your student’s first and second year of medical school.
- Stay in touch through direct contact, phone calls, e-mails, and even the occasional note or fax. Initiate these contacts personally; don’t involve a member of your office staff.