The newly formed, scholar-initiated and peer-led BA/MD Peer Mentoring Program was featured at the AAMC’S BA/MD Affiliate Group national meeting in Atlanta on Nov. 11, 2022.

BA/MD Program Director Jill Foster, MD, presented the abstract in an oral presentation to an enthusiastic audience. Similar programs nationwide will be looking to the University of Minnesota Medical School as a model to follow for high levels of scholar engagement.

Thirty three of our 55 BA/MD scholars signed up to participate in the program’s first year, and 89% of scholars attended the kickoff event to introduce student pairs. As of the date of publication, 23 students had completed the required training webinar with 74% saying their approach to the mentoring experience would be different based on what they learned.

The program’s features cited for the initially high success included the generation and management from within the ranks of scholars themselves in addition to the training required to enter the program. BA/MD scholars are also interested in connecting with each other, including across experience levels. Undergraduate mentees are paired with scholars further in the program, especially those in medical school. An original training webinar introduces basic concepts including guidelines on:

  • Establishing clear expectations from both parties
  • Respecting each other’s time
  • Setting boundaries
  • Redefining roles of a mentor: differentiating mentorship from coaching and tutoring

What we have learned

BA/MD students are eager to engage in peer mentoring, which like other skills, needs to be acquired by learners and is best structured with guidance to optimize the experience. Data collection will be ongoing as the program continues.