A great mentor can be many things; a trusted confidant, candid sounding board, enthusiastic cheerleader and compassionate teacher. For medical students especially, mentors are an invaluable resource as they navigate the stressful and sometimes overwhelming journey to becoming a physician.
As a newly-appointed faculty member in the University of Washington School of Medicine Colleges Program, Deepti Gupta, MD, (she/her/hers), pediatric dermatologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Clinical Adjunct Professor in the UW Division of Dermatology, and Associate Professor in the UW Department of Pediatrics, knows all too well the rigorous demands of medical school, and the importance of finding experienced mentors who can help guide you along your journey.
“Mentorships are hugely important during your medical school training. And luckily, in my experience, those relationships can last throughout your entire career,” says Dr. Gupta. “It’s such a big transition starting medical school; the demands that the medical field puts on you can be really difficult. The Colleges Faculty Mentorship Program connects students with faculty mentors on campus who can help ease that transition by offering support, answering questions, and offering advice during this stressful time.”
UW School of Medicine Colleges Program
The Colleges Program is a unique education and mentorship program offered through the UW School of Medicine which takes a personalized approach to medical education. Faculty and staff from The Colleges manage and deliver a four-year integrated curriculum of clinical skills and professionalism, teach the Foundations of Clinical Medicine course, and provide medical students with consistent faculty mentoring. The curriculum emphasizes proficiency in the basic clinical skills of history taking, physical examination and diagnosis, clinical reasoning and interpretation and use of informatics.
To date, over 60 physicians known for their dedication to teaching and patient-centered care have been selected from the medical school faculty to lead clinical education and serve as student mentors. Upon enrollment, students are assigned to one of eight “Colleges” and with one faculty mentor within that College. Several faculty from UW Dermatology have previously been selected to serve as faculty mentors in The Colleges including Drs. Roy Colven, Andrea Kalus and Rob Sidbury.
Beginning in September of 2022, Dr. Gupta will join the “Olympic Water College” and take five medical students under her wing and start following their progress through graduation. Each subsequent year will add another cohort of medical students to Dr. Gupta’s College.
“The Colleges Faculty Mentorship Program gives a small group of students the opportunity to make a lasting connection with individual faculty members, and really get to know them on a more granular level,” says Dr. Gupta. “As a faculty mentor, I’ll get to see how my students grow through their journey through medical school and help them navigate the challenges and demands placed on them.. The role of a faculty mentor is quite broad and is about meeting the individual students needs. “
Mentorship in Medical School & Beyond
The mentor-mentee relationship lasts throughout the student’s entire medical school education. Students meet regularly with their mentor and a small group of students from their College. During these bi-weekly meetings, mentors work with the students at the bedside, teaching them clinical skills and talking with them about patient-centered care and professionalism. Students also gain extensive experience interviewing and examining patients under the supervision of their mentor.
Looking back on her own medical school education, Dr. Gupta is grateful for her own faculty mentors from UW Dermatology, Drs. Rob Sidbury and Roy Colven, for their exceptional mentorship and the impact they ultimately had on her career trajectory. Dr. Gupta now works alongside Drs. Colven and Sidbury as an attending at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“Roy and Rob were and are such great role models for what a great faculty mentor can be,” says Dr. Gupta. “I still go to them if I have questions or need some career advice. They both showed me how a mentor is always accessible, open, non-judgmental, and able to adapt to what the student needs in that particular moment.”
Now as a dedicated faculty mentor with The Colleges and a wealth of knowledge and expertise to share, Dr. Gupta is ready to support and inspire the next generation of medical professionals through their medical school journey.
“Being able to build mentor relationships and make a lasting difference in students’ lives is so fulfilling. And I can’t wait to learn alongside them as I know they will teach me just as much as they will learn from me.”