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Mentoring in Global Health: Formative Evaluation of Tuberculosis Research Training Programs in Ethiopia and Georgia

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  • 1 Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia;
  • 2 Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia;
  • 3 National Center for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, Tbilisi, Georgia;
  • 4 School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia;
  • 5 School of Public Health, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia;
  • 6 Armauer Hansen Research Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Dawn L. Comeau, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, 1518 Clifton Rd., Atlanta, GA 30322. E-mail: dcomeau@emory.edu

Financial support: Research reported in this publication was supported by the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health under award numbers D43TW009127 and D43TW007124, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases under award numbers K23AI103044 and R21AI12200, and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award numbers UL1TR000454 and UL1TR002378.

Authors’ addresses: Dawn L. Comeau and Hannah Eisen, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, E-mails: dcomeau@emory.edu and hannah.d.eisen@emory.edu. Kathryn Mishkin, Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, E-mail: kemishkin@hotmail.com. Nestani Tukvdaze and Zaza Avaliani, National Center for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, Tbilisi, GA, E-mails: marikushane@yahoo.com and avalianizaza@yahoo.com. Russell R. Kempker, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, E-mail: rkempke@emory.edu. Lisa Sthreshley, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, E-mail: lisa.christine.sthreshley@emory.edu. Mathew J. Magee, School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, E-mail: mjmagee@gsu.edu. Damen Haile Mariam, Department of Health Economics, School of Public Health, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, E-mail: damen_h@hotmail.com. Abraham Aseffa, Armauer Hansen Research Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, E-mail: aseffaa@gmail.com. Henry M. Blumberg, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, and Department of Epidemiology and Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, E-mail: henry.m.blumberg@emory.edu.

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