Harvard Ophthalmology Mentoring Program


The Harvard Ophthalmology Mentoring Program was created in 2014 to direct and support junior faculty toward promotion. Mentors help mentees focus on clinical or investigative goals, keeping in mind the tripartite Harvard Medical School (HMS) mission: clinical or investigative expertise, scholarly publications, and a commitment to teaching.

The program has allowed for connection in a framework that promotes collegiality, invites near total participation of department faculty, and widens perspective.  As of autumn 2020, 58 Instructors, 62 Assistant Professors, and 36 Associate Professors will be mentored through this program. 71 faculty members participate as mentors—24 Professors, 31 Associate Professors, 13 Assistant Professors, and 1 Instructor, and 2 Lecturers.

In October 2019, the Harvard Ophthalmology Mentoring Program received the 2019 Program Award for a Culture of Excellence in Mentoring (PACEM) at Harvard Medical School. The award recognizes departments, divisions, offices or programs “for their efforts to foster innovation and sustainability in mentoring while building a culture of excellence in mentoring.” Thank you to all participants—from the Mentoring Oversight Board to both mentees and mentors—for contributing to this recognition.

On this resource page, you will find documents related to our program as well as advice on the art of being a mentor or mentee, HMS faculty development and teaching opportunities, faculty development information from affiliate hospitals, and articles. Mentors and mentees can contact Melanie Frank, MHA, Program Manager for Faculty Affairs, with any questions or comments.

Mentoring Program Guidelines

Here you will find guidelines for mentors and mentees, as well as results from surveys

Mentoring Program Surveys

View results of the 2018 [PPT]2019 [PDF], and 2020 [PDF] mentor and mentee surveys. Below are excerpts.

Comments from Mentees

 “The guidance is invaluable, not only in knowledge-base, but also in encouragement and camaraderie.”

“The Mentoring Program is an excellent mechanism that allows junior faculty to seek advice and guidance that can be hard to come by.”

“The interaction of a colleague in a professional and personal pathway provides insight that I would not have had the experience to detect on my own.”

Comments from Mentors

“The Mentoring Program offers junior faculty opportunities to interact with more senior faculty outside of their usual working environment. As a mentor I have found it fulfilling to give back and help promote the career development of junior faculty. I also find it a helpful learning process for me in how to become a more effective mentor.”

“It is simply the Right Thing to Do.”

Advice from Past Mentees to Future Mentees

“Show initiative and enthusiasm. Then mentors will invest effort in you because they see your dedication and drive.”

“Understand what you want, so the mentors can give relevant advice.”

“Maintain regular communication with your mentors.”

Advice from Mentees to Mentors

“Give constructive comments—practical, real-world advice—on your mentee’s projects and career development, particularly on how to tackle the challenges and difficulties of promotion.”

“Share your personal experience. Give some insight on the mistakes you have made and ways to avoid mistakes clinically, surgically, academically, in grant writing, etc.”

“Mentors are most helpful when they take the time to really appreciate and evaluate why mentees approach them for advice before they start offering any. ‘What does my mentee want or need?’ is a more useful question than ‘what do I have to offer them?’.”

Mentoring Awards

Harvard Ophthalmology Excellence in Mentoring Award

While many members of the department have won Harvard Medical School mentoring awards over the years, the Mentoring Oversight Board decided in 2019 to create an annual award to recognize mentoring within the department as a way to emphasize the importance of the mentoring program to our leadership and the department as a whole. The recipient was envisioned as a rising star in mentoring—someone whose commitment to mentoring junior faculty is inspiring, a model that others will want to emulate.  Learn about the nomination process [PDF]

View past winners

Harvard Ophthalmology Lifetime Achievement Award in Mentoring 

This award, created in 2020, will be given at the discretion of the Mentoring Oversight Board to recognize a career-long commitment to mentoring through the fostering of multiple generations of students, trainees, and faculty to enable them to attain their full potential. The recipient will have provided valuable support, encouragement, and sponsorship that have led to meaningful career and personal development of those at the start of or earlier on in their careers than the mentor. Learn about the nomination process [PDF]

View past winners

Information for Mentees and Mentors

Bookmark this website and consult it often for information on faculty development offered through HMS-leadership and career advancement opportunities, teaching, mentoring, and funding.  Of particular interest, the Consortium of Harvard Affiliated Offices for Faculty Development and Diversity (CHADD), which offers a yearly Mentoring Course designed to enhance the climate for mentoring across HMS. Also, take note of HMS Weave —an innovative relational mentorship program. See the Learner’s Review for more information.

There is a wealth of faculty development opportunities across Harvard Ophthalmology's affiliates. In July 2019, for example, the MGH Center for Faculty Development Office for Women’s Careers sponsored a “Business of Life Workshop™” facilitated by Allison Rimm, former MGH Senior VP of Strategic Planning and Information Management. Each participant created a personal mission statement, wrote a vision of their ideal life, set goals and priorities, and developed plans to fulfill their vision and create balance in their life. Brigham and Women’s not only has website dedicated to mentoring, but also offers information on medical education, clinical and learning tools, and resources on wellness.

The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM includes an online guide for both mentors and mentees. The site also provides mentoring curricula, including case studies and activities to define expectations, determine reasonable expectations, elicit mentee learning goals, maintain effective communication, promote professional development, and more.

Teaching Academic Medicine

HMS Teaching Opportunities

HMS requires all full-time and part-time faculty to teach at least 50 hours per year. This includes HMS courses, formal teaching of trainees, clinical and/or laboratory supervision and training, CME, local invited presentations, mentoring, and/or educational administration. Examples include: 

The Academy at HMS

The Academy at Harvard Medical School Academy provides programming to improve teaching skills and support innovative approaches to medical education. The Manager of Faculty Affairs periodically attends the Academy’s Medical Education Grand Rounds and Symposia on the Science of Learning when the topics are relevant to mentoring or offer insights into teaching. Below are her notes on these events.

Articles on Mentoring