In July 2020, the UCSF Mid-Career Faculty Development Program launched its first cohort of exceptional mid-career scientists who are also extraordinary mentors for historically marginalized students, trainees, and junior faculty. This unique program provides scientists with flexible financial support and career development strategies, alongside ongoing support for their mentorship. This career development program fosters peer membership, training in academic medicine’s “hidden curriculum,” and provides both mentorship and sponsorship for the awardees. Hidden curriculum refers to information useful for career advancement that may not be formally shared equally with all faculty, resulting in uneven progress and potential bias.
We built this program recognizing that diversity is critical to institutional success and scientific progress, and that representative role models positively impact junior faculty and trainees. It is well known that efforts to recruit and retain historically marginalized faculty have been plagued by long-standing challenges. Only 10% of academic medicine faculty nation-wide are Latinx, Black, or Indigenous; and these racial/ethnic minorities and women in academic medicine are less likely to be promoted or advanced to leadership roles than whites or men respectively. Retaining women and other historically marginalized mid-career faculty in academic medicine is particularly challenging given implicit biases uniquely faced by historically marginalized scientists. People at the intersection of multiple forces of oppression are less likely to be retained in academia and less likely to receive federal funding. In addition, diverse women scientists more frequently face burdens, such as the minority (and women’s) tax, and are more likely to carry greater numbers of early career mentees (women and/or people of color) because few such mentors are available. They often also bear more domestic responsibilities at home.
We believe that midcareer is a critical time to support women and URM faculty to meet distinct demands at this stage, including critical—yet time-intensive--mentoring provided to early career scientists. Since prior research demonstrates that career development programs, membership in peer cohorts, and training in the “hidden curriculum” can foster career advancement, we have added each of these components to our program.
We are grateful for funding from the Genentech Charitable Foundation, Weston Havens Foundation, and an anonymous donor.
Each awardee will receive the following for 2 academic years:
- Funding: Each awardee will receive $75,000 per year for 2 years. The awardees may use these funds for salary support, research staff support, or other needs for advancing their research program. Of note, if the awardee receives any other career development award during the award period, the awardee must relinquish all remaining funds but may continue with the programmatic elements of the program. Notification of additional funding must be made within 30 days of notification of funding.
- Mentorship & Sponsorship: Awardees will meet, as a group, with program leadership (Drs. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo and Christina Mangurian) every month for peer and near-peer skills building and research and career mentorship. To enhance networking and sponsorship opportunities, university-wide executive leaders will be periodically invited to participate in monthly meetings.
- Change-Maker Circle (Advisory Council) mentorship: Our Change-Maker Circle reflects UCSF’s mission of diversity and inclusion. As a group, all three program awardees will attend twice-yearly meetings with this Advisory Council to obtain personalized peer- and near- peer mentorship. These half-day meetings will provide career development support and opportunities to openly discuss common issues faced by emerging leaders. Members are also available for individual consultation with awardees, beyond their established mentoring teams.