Mentorship is central to academic medicine and its missions, and it has long played a critical role in the training and career development of physicians and scientists. A growing body of literature has documented the positive impact of mentorship on various outcomes, including research productivity, academic promotion, faculty retention, and career satisfaction. These benefits span academic medical centers’ missions and have the potential to enhance biomedical research, patient care, education, and faculty diversity and leadership. In this Invited Commentary, the authors argue that a dynamic culture of mentorship is essential to the success of academic medical centers and should be elevated to the level of a major strategic priority. This culture of mentorship would capitalize on an institution’s intellectual resources and seek to develop leaders in biomedical discovery, patient care, and education. The bidirectional transmission of knowledge between mentors and mentees, through both formal programs and informal relationships, can foster the growth of faculty members needed to meet the complex challenges currently confronting medical schools and teaching hospitals. Developing a culture of mentorship requires a strong commitment by leaders at all levels to nurture the next generation of physicians and scientists as well as grassroots efforts by trainees and faculty to seek out and create mentorship opportunities. The authors conclude by outlining possible mechanisms and incentives for elevating mentorship to the level of a strategic priority to strengthen academic medical centers across their missions.
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