Background: Facilitated peer mentorship is an effective forum for professional development of faculty in academic medicine but has only been studied within single specialties. An interdisciplinary faculty development program was created to benefit faculty participants across different specialties and improve faculty connectedness at the medical school. The objective was to evaluate the early outcomes of an interdisciplinary faculty development program using the facilitated peer mentorship model.

Methods: Junior faculty participants were placed into small groups with equal distribution of specialties across groups. Peer groups were facilitated by a senior faculty. The study duration involved two cohorts enrolled in 2018-2019 and 2020-2021. Monthly small group meetings were held during each year. A baseline needs assessment was performed to ensure the curriculum was relevant to all specialties. Participants were surveyed on their understanding of promotion, barriers to attending meetings, and intra- and interdepartmental connectivity. In the second year of the program, meetings were held virtually in accordance with institutional COVID-19 pandemic guidelines.

Results: A total of 92 faculty participated in the program over the two periods. In the baseline assessment, promotion was considered to be the most important component of a mentorship program, yet only one-quarter of participants considered themselves to have at least a moderate understanding of promotion prior to the start of the program. The ability to identify a primary mentor was significantly associated with a shorter anticipated time to promotion (p=0.001). While nearly all surveyed participants identified a barrier to involvement in the peer mentorship program, there were significant gender differences in the types of barriers with women faculty more likely to be concerned about family responsibilities and timing of day (p=0.007). At the conclusion of the program, participants had an enhanced perception of connectivity within and between departments (p=0.012) and improved readiness for promotion.

Conclusion: Interdisciplinary facilitated peer mentoring increases the scope of influence by senior faculty mentors across different specialties measured by enhanced readiness for promotion. Additional benefits included improving professional relationships across the institution. The program demonstrated its reproducibility in a virtual format, effectively addressing challenges related to networking and career advancement caused by pandemic restrictions.