Consultancies: A model for interdisciplinary training and mentoring of junior faculty investigators

Julia L. Herbert, Soo Borson, Elizabeth A. Phelan, Basia Belza, Barbara B. Cochrane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The study of complex, health-related problems is often best addressed by interdisciplinary teams, and yet models for training and mentoring junior investigators in an interdisciplinary mode are not widely available. Here, the authors describe their school's version of the consultancy process, a two-year effort (September 2007 to June 2009) sponsored by the University of Washington's Center for Interdisciplinary Geriatric Research, as a model for short-and long-term, interdisciplinary training and mentoring of junior faculty investigators, and evaluate its effects on establishing productive cross-disciplinary linkages among them. Between September 2007 and December 2008, written feedback was collected from participating faculty after each consultancy session. A brief, Internet-based survey of all attendees was conducted in February 2009 to gather information about longer-term implications and benefits of consultancy participation. Most respondents rated sessions highly, and a majority of the respondents reported increased networking opportunities, access to resources, new research questions, access to expertise beyond their disciplines as a result of the sessions, and a positive impact on cross-disciplinary collaborations. Their responses suggest that the consultancy format may stimulate the formation of new interdisciplinary mentoring relationships and foster cross-disciplinary collaborations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)866-871
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011


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