Volume 99, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Mentoring is a critical component of career development for research scientists and is related to mentee success both in terms of career selection and advancement. However, there are limited data on the role of mentoring in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Cross-cultural mentorship programs have the potential to foster the transfer of knowledge and the development of capacity to resource-poor settings. This formative evaluation explores the cultural context of mentoring in the countries of Georgia and Ethiopia. Results were used to build culturally relevant mentor training programs for two Global Infectious Disease Research Training Programs focused on tuberculosis funded by the Fogarty International Center at the US National Institutes of Health. Four focus group discussions were conducted with research trainees and mentors to explore the perceptions of mentorship, identify obstacles for successful mentoring, and generate recommendations to strengthen mentoring in each program situated in a LMIC. Data revealed the barriers to mentoring in Ethiopia and Georgia included gaps in knowledge about mentoring roles and responsibilities, lack of knowledge about the responsibilities of the trainee in a mentoring relationship, and the need to set clear expectations between mentors and trainees. All of the focus group participants desired formal mentor training. These data informed six key components of the development and implementation of the mentor training programs in both countries. The topics included the following: a foundation in mentoring, establishing expectations between mentees and mentors, increasing interactions between mentees and mentors, additional mentor training, a case study curriculum, and methods of evaluating mentoring relationships.


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  • Received : 26 Sep 2017
  • Accepted : 02 Jun 2018
  • Published online : 16 Jul 2018

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