At this year's Annual Convention, the AVMA launched a new, Web-based mentoring program designed to enhance personal and professional growth of AVMA members of all ages. The AVMA Mentoring Center is a tool that will help AVMA and Student AVMA members build professional networks. It will support the long-term health of the profession by encouraging practitioners and veterinary students to share knowledge and wisdom with each other.
The Web site, http://mentoring.avma.org, is now available to members who are interested in becoming mentors, and an intense effort to sign up these interested individuals is under way. In the coming weeks, when the program has been adequately populated with mentors, individuals who want guidance or assistance will be encouraged to sign up as mentees and choose their mentors.
Individuals can fill out an online form indicating their areas of interest and the number of veterinarians they are willing to guide. After a mentee accesses the website and completes a form indicating the skills they would like to learn, the program will search the mentor database to find a suitable match. Enrolling in the program takes about 10 minutes. AVMA and SAVMA members can enroll as mentors, as mentees, or as both.
"Everyone can benefit from being a mentor and a mentee at the same time," said Dr. Rosemary LoGiudice, an assistant director of the AVMA Membership and Field Services Division. She emphasizes that people can benefit from guidance and education throughout their career and, likewise, individuals can act as mentors even when they are veterinary students.
"We want to get away from the idea that mentoring is only an older person sharing their life experience and skills with a younger person," Dr. LoGiudice commented. For example, a younger person may be able to teach an older veterinarian a new surgical technique or share business and computer skills.
The AVMA hopes to enlist 500 mentors before they then encourage mentees to access the database.
Dr. Ron Cott, an associate dean for student and alumni affairs at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, is chair of the AVMA Model Mentoring Program Task Force, which proposed the AVMA Mentoring Center. Dr. Cott announced the center's launch at the House of Delegates informal meeting July 22 in Philadelphia.