Photos of former patients adorn the office door of R. Michael Scott, professor of surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital. Some are children’s school photos, others capture milestones, such as graduations and weddings, and still others are photos of the children of Scott’s former patients.
“These photos are the ‘aha!’ moments for me,” Scott said. “Feeling the time passing as my patients have grown up and gone on to have their own families is very rewarding.”
Scott was one of four faculty members honored on June 5 with the William Silen Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award by the Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership at Harvard Medical School.
A neurosurgeon at Children’s for 25 years, Scott echoed a popular theme that other recipients underscored: that mentors often learn as much or more from their mentees.
During surgery, Scott said, he will often sit across from a trainee so they can operate on the patient—and learn—together.
“I learn a lot from the people with whom I work,” Scott said. “It is a cross-fertilization, and I recognize the knowledge they bring.”
At the award ceremony, Scott recalled a lesson his father shared with him years ago. “My dad was a neurosurgeon and probably my first mentor,” he said.
“He told me that all the papers I wrote and all the research I did probably would amount to very little over time, but the really important things I did would be the legacy I left behind, in terms of the people I trained and the students I taught and the patients I took care of. I have no doubt that he was quite correct to teach me this,” he said.
Scott was not the only outstanding mentor whose dedication was recognized at the ceremony. A total of 17 were honored out of nearly 500 nominees. Five faculty members received the A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award and eight were recognized with the Young Mentor Award. (See full list of award recipients below.)
Sounding a recurrent theme throughout the ceremony, many of the recipients thanked their own mentors for helping them along the way.
Samara Reck-Peterson, HMS assistant professor of cell biology, who received a Young Mentor Award, also expressed gratitude to her mentors and reflected on what makes a good one.
“Mentoring is really a relationship, and the best ones have both mentor and mentee actively engaged in the process,” she said.
Rebecca Wells, instructor in neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and one of the people who nominated Ellen McCarthy, associate professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, for the A. Clifford Barger Award, said being a good mentor requires personal communication, academic guidance and professional development.
“Ellen met with me on a weekly basis to work on our research, giving me individual attention and setting an expectation for excellence,” she said. “During our regular meetings, Ellen frequently took time to ask me about my hopes for the future and helped me formulate my research strategy to best meet my career goals.”
Each year since 1995, the Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership has honored faculty members for outstanding mentoring of trainees and students. The recipients are nominated for their sponsorship, encouragement and support for the career and personal development of the nominator and of other faculty, trainees and students. The recipients are chosen by a selection committee of representatives from across HMS and its affiliated hospitals and institutions.
“We honor thosewho have made significant contributions to the professional and sometimes personal development of faculty, trainees and students,” said Joan Reede, dean for Diversity and Community Partnership at Harvard Medical School, as she opened the standing-room-only awards ceremony.
This year, 481 nominations were received. Faculty members from instructors to professors at HMS and HSDM were eligible for nomination.
The William Silen Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award requires a minimum of 20 years of service; the A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award requires no minimum years of service, and the Young Mentor Award requires a maximum of 10 or fewer of years of service.
The following faculty members were honored on June 5, 2012, at the 2011-2012 Excellence in Mentoring Awards Ceremony
William Silen Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award
Ross J. Baldessarini, Professor of Psychiatry (Neuroscience), McLean Hospital
Stephen B. Calderwood, Morton N. Swartz, M.D. Academy Professor of Medicine (Microbiology and Molecular Genetics), Massachusetts General Hospital
Joseph Loscalzo, Hersey Professor of the Theory and Practice of Physic, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
R. Michael Scott, Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery), Boston Children’s Hospital
A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award
David R. Bangsberg, Associate Professor of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
Kenneth D. Bloch, William Thomas Green Morton Professor of Anaesthesia, Massachusetts General Hospital
George Q. Daley, Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Boston Children’s Hospital
Ellen P. McCarthy, Associate Professor of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Kenneth J. Mukamal, Associate Professor of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Young Mentor Award
Arin K. Greene, Associate Professor of Surgery, Boston Children’s Hospital
Bernard T. Lee, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Louis L. Nguyen, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Peter J. Park, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Boston Children’s Hospital
Samara L. Reck-Peterson, Assistant Professor of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School
Khalid A. Shah, Associate Professor of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Rachel Wilson, Associate Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School
Jim Wu, Assistant Professor of Radiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
In 1997, the Excellence in Mentoring Award was renamed for A. Clifford Barger, the Robert Henry Pfeiffer Professor of Physiology Emeritus, who was known as a role model for mentoring. The Faculty Council established the William Silen Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award in 2001 in recognition of William Silen, the Johnson and Johnson Professor of Surgery, Emeritus, and the first dean of Faculty Development and Diversity at HMS. The Young Mentor Award—established in 2005—honors faculty members who are in the early stages of their careers.