With the Building Equitable Access to Mentorship (BEAM) program, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH) in partnership with the UWSMPH Kern National Network (KNN) team initiated a new learning community offering faculty development aimed at increasing mentoring skills for our diverse faculty scholars. The learning communities help better equip the faculty scholars to provide mentoring experiences that assist medical students from racial/ethnic groups underrepresented (UR) in medicine in acquiring relevant social and cultural capital to maximize experiences and resources at UWSMPH to enhance their own professional development and academic success. The vision for BEAM was conceived between the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), the Collaborative Center for Health Equity (CCHE), and the Office of Academic Affairs with Drs. Tracy Downs, Angela Byars-Winston, and Christine Sorkness, who serve as the BEAM Program Co-Leaders.
The goals of the BEAM program are to:
- Build a cohesive and supportive community of faculty scholars across diverse health science disciplines who are from UR groups in Wisconsin
- Identify UR faculty to participate in the UR Student Mentorship Program and to provide mentor training to BEAM scholars
- Enhance the faculty experience and connectedness of BEAM scholars through professional development and social networking
- Provide opportunities for UR faculty members to support UWSMPH diversity initiatives through involvement in activities that sustain UR students in UWSMPH training programs
With the incoming medical school classes of 2019 and 2020 surpassing 30% UR students, the need for visible and involved role models for UWSMPH students and trainees has also increased. BEAM provides competency-based education and resources to faculty scholars who assume mentorship roles. They participate in extensive evidence-based, mentorship education workshops by colleagues within UWSMPH who are national/international experts. The workshops explore multiple mentoring models, tools to improve mentoring, and culturally aware mentoring practices. The education is presented in multiple online modules (the development of which was supported by the KNN through an investment from the Kern Family and Kern Family Foundation) and in-person and synchronous virtual discussions. Scholars are also coached on how to turn their educational work into scholarships to support their career advancement and promotion in their faculty track, and each BEAM scholar may request a professional evaluation of their promotion packet materials. Additionally, a stipend is provided for each scholar to cover expenses associated with mentoring activities.
BEAM is an evidence-based mentoring program that leverages the experience and expertise of SMPH faculty members to provide mentorship to our medical students. Our trained BEAM faculty mentors are experienced and skilled in culturally aware mentoring. Each mentor will be assigned a pod of M1 students. The size of the pods will depend on student demand but we anticipate 3 or 4 students in each pod. We anticipate that mentees will meet with their mentors approximately 6 times in the academic year.
Tiajuana Rice, Multicultural Initiatives Specialist
Please contact Tia with questions about the program, and to express interest for future involvement.
“BEAM got us closer together in a meaningful way by allowing mentors and mentees to share real-life experiences and to appreciate the many humanistic aspects of one’s medical training journey.”
Upcoming BEAM Events
“I have loved getting to know my mentees. They are thoughtful, inquisitive, and do not accept the status quo. We’ve had some very difficult conversations about systemic racism, micro-aggressions, and how to stand up when injustices occur. They give me hope that the future is bright. I hope to be in touch with them for the rest of my career.”