Challenges and Benefits in Designing and Implementing a Team-Based Research Mentorship Experience in Translational Research

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Abstract

Background. Translational research seeks to build bridges between research and practice to address public health issues efficiently and effectively. The purpose of this article was to evaluate a newly formed institute that provided graduate students and adolescent behavioral health community professionals with a translational research service-learning opportunity through the creation of a community–university mentoring partnership. Goals of the team-based research mentorship approach included (1) providing students the skills for implementing translational research, (2) providing research opportunities for community agencies to enhance operations and to encourage ongoing research involvement, and (3) developing relationships between university faculty and community agency professionals for further research collaborations. Method. The Institute used the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Mentoring Mosaic to select a diverse group of community and academic mentors. The research mentorship experience of the initial cohort was evaluated based on the Research Mentorship Conceptual Framework and Self-Assessment Tool. Results. As a direct result of the research mentorship, outcomes for the academic and community mentors and scholars (i.e., those seeking a graduate certificate) included improved working relationships/networking and research experience. Through experiential learning, scholars also discovered career trajectory clarity, the need for community collaboration in research, opportunities for continuing professional development, a greater understanding of public health competencies and how they align with community-based research, and skill development in best practices for translational research. Conclusion. The team mentoring approach is a form of pedagogy that holds promise to enhance translational research and community-based research efforts while developing public health competencies.

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