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Center for the Future of Health Professions Jan. 2024 digest

Welcome to the January 2024 op-ed column of the Center for the Future of the Health Professions Digest! We are committed to delivering trustworthy information and research on the healthcare workforce, assisting policymakers and health system stakeholders to plan for a sustainable future. This month, our focus is on the crucial role of mentoring in shaping the next generation of clinician scholars. Effective mentoring is key to the success of medical, dental, and health science students, whether they pursue careers as clinicians, basic scientists, or clinical researchers.

We are thrilled to feature Len Goldstein, DDS, PhD, as our guest writer once again. Dr. Goldstein serves as the Assistant Vice President for Clinical Education Development in the Office of Academic Affairs, primarily based on the Mesa, Arizona, campus. His responsibilities include ensuring that all ATSU clinically based programs offer a sufficient number of high-quality clinical rotations and experiences in core and elective fields, aligning with program accreditation standards and the respective number of students. He collaborates with deans, directors, and ATSU clinical partners, including community health centers (CHCs), to create additional quality clinical opportunities for ATSU students.

Dr. Goldstein’s accomplishments include being awarded fellowship in the International College of Dentists, the Pierre Fauchard Academy, and the American College of Acupuncture. He is a diplomate of the American College of Forensic Dentistry and the American Academy of Pain Management. With more than 60 published scientific articles in peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Goldstein has demonstrated expertise in mentoring students and colleagues engaged in scholarly activity.

We invite you to share your thoughts on this month’s digest with us.

Randy Danielsen, PhD, DHL(h), PA-C Emeritus, DFAAPA

Professor and Director

The Center for the Future of the Health Professions

A.T. Still University

Dr. Leonard Goldstein

Mentoring tomorrow’s clinical medicine scholars

My starting point in osteopathic medical education began in early 2003 as director of clinical education at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM). From the beginning, I saw a need to mentor students and assist them with clinical education, especially in publication. Although there was no requirement for medical students to publish, I saw the value in a student being published. By assisting students with writing and publishing, they took a “deeper dive” into the subject matter. This helped them with their residency applications and interviews. While not a requirement, it was better to be published than not published. I made myself available to any and all NYITCOM students, writing and publishing articles with them. The student was always the “first author”.

When I came to A.T. Still University, I continued writing and publishing with students at A.T Still University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA), Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH), and Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS).

Before entering medical education, I published numerous articles and participated in clinical research. I had been part of the executive editorial board of Practical Pain Management, a peer-reviewed journal for practitioners who required information regarding pain management. I have published more than 130 manuscripts with students and have currently submitted 21 for publication. Since I am not a physician, an ATSU-SOMA faculty member co-authors any manuscript.

I have found that students see the value in increasing subject knowledge and have a desire to research and publish more. I now have developed a reputation with students in which they seek out opportunities to write with the “team.” Over the years that I have been at ATSU, I have seen many students “match” into outstanding residencies, and I hope my mentorship and their research/publication(s) have assisted in this endeavor. Hopefully many more faculty members in all of our programs will, if they are not already doing so, utilize their own time to mentor our students.

In this era of explosive medical scientific growth, it is important to mentor tomorrow’s medicine scholars with availability, dedication, and creativity. In this same era, substantial impediments prevent gifted medical and other healthcare students (dental, PA, PT, OT, etc.) from developing into independent patient-oriented investigators.1,2

Superior mentoring is a vital ingredient to the success of all medical and healthcare students, including those who become clinicians, basic scientists, and clinical researchers.3

With Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Exam(USMLE) and/or the Step 1 Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam(COMLEX) recently changing to a Pass/Fail format, medical students now, more than ever, are looking for true mentorship to excel in their future in medicine, and equally important, to be competitive with their residency application.

Relationships between medical students and faculty are an effective means of navigating a student’s professional development path,3,4 increasing the success of their future careers,5 and potentially preventing burnout.6,7

Despite the potential benefits, there has been a lack of mentoring relationships between medical students and physicians/faculty.8 An engaged mentor who takes interest in a trainee’s development is critically important to a successful career. Mentoring will typically encompass a number of functions and relationships, including counseling, career guidance, discipline, and teaching. A commonly used definition of mentoring in medicine is from the Standing Committee on Post-Graduate Medical and Dental Education (SCOPME 1988). According to SCOPME, mentors should support the trainee/student to acquire or hone skills and foster career goals.9

Finally, specific to health professions students, is the goal of integrating research skills with clinical knowledge and education; the three pillars of an academic health professional.10

The United States Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has developed a list of core competencies11 that provide a useful guideline for mentors to impart practical skills and a sense of social and ethical responsibility, including:

All of us in health sciences professions should consider becoming a mentor to tomorrow’s clinical medical scholars.

I want to acknowledge James Keane, DO, MEd, ATSU-SOMA associate professor, OMT/OM, a very important mentor who works with me on student publications.


  1. Wyngaarden JB: “The Clinical Investigator as an Endangered Species”; NEJM; 1979; 301: 1254-1259
  2. Heinig SJ, Quon AS, Meyer RE, Korn D: “The Changing Landscape for Clinical Research”; Academ Med; 1999; 74: 726-745
  3. Schrier RW: “Ensuring the Survival of the Clinician—Scientist”; Academ Med; 1997; 72: 589-594
  4. Kalen S, Ponzer S, Seeberger A, “Longitudinal Mentorship to Support the Development of Medical Student’s Future Professional Role: A Qualitative Study”; BMC Med ED; 2015; 15: 97
  5. Morrison IJ, Lorens E, Bandiera G, “Impact of a Formal Mentoring Program on Academic Promotion of Department of Medicine Faculty: A Comparative Study”; Med Teach; 2014; 36(7): 608-614
  6. Fallatah HI, Park YS, Farsi J, : “Mentoring Clinical Year Medical students: Factors Contributing to Effective Mentoring”; J Med Educ Curric Dev; 2018; 5: 2382120518757717
  7. Vogan CL, McKimm J, Silva ALD, : “Twelve Tips for Providing Effective Student Support in Undergraduate Medical Education” Med Teach; 2014; 36(6): 480-485
  8. Buddeberg-Fischer B, Herta KD: “Formal Mentoring Programs For Medical Students and Doctors—A Review of Medline Literature”; Med Teach; 2006; 28(3): 248-257
  9. Bower DJ, : “Support-Challenge-Vision: A Model for Faculty Mentoring”; Med Teach; 20(6): 595-597
  10. Manabe YC, : “Resurrecting the Triple Threat: Academic Social Responsibility in the Context of Global Health Research”; Clinic Infec Diseas; 2009; 48(10: 1420-1422
  11. Stewart MG: “Accredication Council on Graduate Medical Education Core Competencies”; Available from :


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