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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15-19

Cardiovascular research mentorship platforms: Productivity, diversity, inclusion, and equity


1 Medical Education Unit, Cardiovascular Analytics Group, China-UK Collaboration, Hong Kong, China
2 Medical Education Unit, Cardiovascular Analytics Group, China-UK Collaboration, Hong Kong; Department of Cardiology, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Ionic-Molecular Function of Cardiovascular Disease, Tianjin Institute of Cardiology, Second Hospital of Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China; Kent and Medway Medical School, University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury CT2 7FS, UK
3 Department of Cardiology, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Ionic-Molecular Function of Cardiovascular Disease, Tianjin Institute of Cardiology, Second Hospital of Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China
4 Division of Cardiology, Kingston General Hospital, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Adrian Baranchuk
Division of Cardiology, Kingston General Hospital, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
Canada
Sharen Lee
Medical Education Unit, Cardiovascular Analytics Group, Hong Kong
China
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ACCJ.ACCJ_3_22

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Background: There has been increasing awareness on the issue of underrepresentation in academic cardiology. However, to date, most mentorship programs are not designed specifically tailored for future careers in cardiology or cardiovascular medicine. We present our 6-year experience in running two research mentorship platforms, the International Health Informatics Study Network and the Cardiovascular Analytics Group. Objective: To study the underrepresentation in academic cardiology. Methods: Researchers were prospectively recruited into the mentorship programs between September 2015 and September 2021. A combination of online mentorship approaches was employed, including one-to-one mentoring (between faculty and students and between peers), group mentorship, and teaching sessions. Outcomes included the number of publications related to cardiovascular medicine, including those with student members in key authorship positions, and students serving as mentors. Female representation was assessed. Results: A total of 117 researchers from 19 countries were recruited between September 2015 and September 2021, leading to the successful publication of 164 research articles on cardiovascular medicine or epidemiology. Students participated in 80% of the articles (n = 131). At least one student served as the first author in 34% of the articles (n = 56; at least one female student as the first author in 48% of the 56 articles; n = 27), as the senior author in 7.3% of the articles (n = 12), and as a mentor in 15% of the articles (n = 26; at least one female student served as a mentor in 42% of the 26 articles; n = 11). Female researchers occupied one of the four key authorship positions in 43% of the articles (n = 70; 47 female first authors; 10 female co-first authors; 6 female co-corresponding authors; and 17 female last authors). There was a 12% increase in the percentage of females in key authorship positions between the periods 2016–2018 and 2019–2021, from 47% (n = 33) and 53% (n = 37) of the 70 publications having at least one female in key authorship positions, respectively. Conclusions: Online-based mentorship programs can promote the development of independent research and leadership skills in students, with a positive impact on diversity, gender equity, inclusion, and productivity in cardiovascular research.


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