New Age Mentoring and Disruptive Innovation-Navigating the Uncharted With Vision, Purpose, and Equity.
For individuals aspiring to a career in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, mentorship can shape destiny. Mentorship helps assure safe passage into the specialty, and it influences the arc of professional development across the career continuum. Even before the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, technology and social networking were transforming mentorship in otolaryngology. Now, in an increasingly virtual world, where in-person interactions are the exception, mentorship plays an even more pivotal role. Mentors serve as trusted guides, helping learners navigate accelerating trends toward early specialization, competency-based assessments, and key milestones. However, several structural barriers render the playing field unlevel. For medical students, cancellation of visiting clerkships, in-person rotations, and other face-to-face interactions may limit access to mentors. The pandemic and virtual landscape particularly threaten the already-leaky pipeline for underrepresented medical students. These challenges may persist into residency and later career stages, where structural inequities continue to subtly influence opportunities and pairings of mentors and mentees. Hence, overreliance on serendipitous encounters can exacerbate disparities, even amid societal mandates for equity. The decision to take deliberate steps toward mentoring outreach and engagement has profound implications for what otolaryngology will look like in years to come. This article introduces the concept of new age mentoring, shining a light on how to modernize practices. The key shifts are from passive to active engagement; from amorphous to structured relationships; and from hierarchical dynamics to bidirectional mentoring. Success is predicated on intentional outreach and purposefulness in championing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the progressively technology-driven landscape.
Ahmadmehrabi, S; Farlow, JL; Wamkpah, NS; Esianor, BI; Brenner, MJ; Valdez, TA; Malekzadeh, S; Bradford, CR; Francis, HW
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