Faculty Mentoring Program

Ask a Mentor

Stuart Gansky

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Do you have any suggestions for finding a mentor outside of my department? I do research that spans different disciplines, and while I have a mentor in my same department, I’d like to find someone else who could advise me.

- EL, Assistant Professor


Dear EL:

For a research mentor outside your department, there are several resources you could explore. First, ask other members of your mentoring team for recommendations or suggestions. Often senior faculty members have met (through committees or seminars), or are aware of, other faculty members on campus doing related work. Ask the person you know to provide an introduction or email introduction for you. Sometimes the prospective mentor outside your department might not have available time, but might have co-investigators or colleagues who do. Personal connections – even remote ones – are usually better than “cold calling”. When you meet (or in an email) be prepared with a short 1 paragraph or 1 page summary of your current research and the role you wish for the prospective mentor to play.

Second, you can attend relevant seminars at UCSF to network. It may be more productive if you familiarize yourself with a list of faculty and their expertise/experience in the department or division hosting the seminar (for example a webpage). You can then set a goal to introduce yourself to the speaker and relevant attendees. You can follow-up with an email or telephone call and can include your 1 paragraph or 1 page summary.

Third, you can browse the UCSF CTSI Profiles pages (http://profiles.ucsf.edu/) where you can search using appropriate terms. For example, searching using the terms “tobacco”, “cessation” and “community” for your T2 (clinic to community) translational research project yields 69 people, but adding the term “outreach” reduces the list to 8 people. Browse the resulting profiles for appropriate expertise and experience. As with the first strategy above, see if you can have a mutual contact introduce the two of you and be prepared with the 1 paragraph or 1 page summary.

Fourth, you can perform other searches similar to the UCSF CTSI Profiles pages. For example, in a search engine, you can search using the terms “www.ucsf.edu: tobacco cessation community outreach” which will limit the search to UCSF webpages. Alternatively, you can search PubMed with the terms “tobacco” “cessation” “community” and add the term “UCSF[Affiliation]” or “University of California San Francisco[Affiliation]”. Then follow similar steps as above.

Stuart Gansky, DrPH
Center to Address Disparities in Children's Oral Health
Division of Oral Epidemiology & Dental Public Health

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