Composition of Team. Mentoring teams will include at least three individuals. In rare cases, an additional mentor may be included, but in most cases three will suffice and more may be cumbersome. One of the three mentors will be designated the primary mentor and, as the name implies, take primary responsibility for mentoring the trainee. The primary mentor must be from one of the fourteen primary mentors identified in this application. The remaining two co-mentors can be selected from either the primary mentor list, the affiliated mentor list, or the collaborating mentor list. By including the collaborating mentors in this, an added benefit is that the mentorees get additional mentors who are often younger, have more time available, and to whom trainees may more easily relate. Moreover, this affords opportunities for the senior mentors to mentor the younger mentors in mentoring, as has been shown to be so important . Finally, one member of the mentoring team must have expertise in the quantitative domain (e.g. statistics, computer science, physics), one must have expertise in the behavioral sciences (e.g. psychology, sociology), and one must have expertise in the biomedical realm (e.g. medicine, physiology, genetics).
Roles and Functioning Of Team. The mentoring team collectively serves three overarching purposes for the mentoree. The first is to provide a conduit for and supervision in the hands-on research experience that comprises a fundamental and essential component the of research training. That is, mentorees are expected to work shoulder to shoulder with leading active investigators and learn their scientific skills as much by doing, as by sitting in classrooms. This is not to diminish the role of the didactic education, but we believe that there is no substitute for being immersed in an active research program. It is the mentors’ responsibility to provide that active research program in which the mentoree can work toward developing their skills as an independent investigator and build their curriculum vitae. Second, the mentoring team provides an interdisciplinary hub and microcosm of the overall interdisciplinary training program. As described below, the team is constructed specifically to have investigators from different disciplinary domains who collectively can expose the trainee to approaches to obesity research from many perspectives and help them partake of, appreciate, and integrate those diverse approaches. Third and finally, the mentoring team is there to monitor the individual trainee’s progress on a day-to-day basis and ensure that they are effectively partaking of the overall training program offered. Whereas the directors of the program take responsibility for ensuring that the overall program is implemented, the formal offerings are available, and follow up with individual trainees occurs at least every six months, it is the mentors that provide the true mentoring in the classic sense of being a sounding board and a guidepost for our young and rising scholars.