The role of gender and distance mentoring in the Surgical Education Research Fellowship

John L. Falcone, Alfred J. Croteau, Kimberly D Schenarts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Objective The nature of the mentor-mentee relationship is important in the pursuit of successful research projects. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the mentor-mentee relationships in the Surgical Education Research Fellowship (SERF) based on gender and geographical distances regarding program completion. We hypothesize that there are no differences for SERF program completion rates based on gender pairs and distances between pairs. Methods This was a retrospective study from 2006 to 2011. Mentor-mentee rosters were retrospectively reviewed for program completion, demographics, and PubMeD indexing. Time zone differences and geographic distances between pairs were found with online applications. Chi-square tests were used for categorical variables and nonparametric statistics were carried out using α = 0.05. Results Of the 82 individuals accepted into the SERF program, 43 (52%) completed the SERF program during the study period. There were no differences in program completion rates based on fellow gender and gender pairing (all p > 0.05). Different-gender pairs that completed the program (n = 17) were indexed more frequently on PubMed than same-gender pairs that completed the program (n = 24) (41% vs 12%, p = 0.04). There were no differences in program completion based on time zone differences (p = 0.20). The median distance between pairs completing the program (n = 35) was greater than that for pairs not completing the program (n = 36) (1741 km [IQR: 895-3117 km] vs 991 km [IQR: 676-2601 km]; p = 0.03). Conclusion Completion of the SERF program was independent of mentor-mentee gender pairs and time zone differences. There was greater geographical distance separating mentor-mentee pairs that completed the SERF program compared with pairs that did not complete the program. Distance mentoring is a successful and crucial element of the SERF program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number976
Pages (from-to)330-337
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2015



  • Association for Surgical Education
  • Surgical Education Research Fellowship (SERF)
  • distance mentoring
  • mentee
  • mentor
  • surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education

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