Skip to main content

What it takes to become Physician Mentor of the Year

2019 Areisa And Dean Hess

Caption: Medical student Areisa Peters with her physician mentor Dean Jay Hess, MD, PhD

At the spring physician mentor recognition celebration, Class of 2019 president, Kishan Shah, presented the Physician Mentor of the Year award to his own mentor: Manasa Mantravadi, MS, MD. The award is the highest form of recognition for a physician mentor. Mantravadi’s nomination highlights how she cares and supports her mentees.

“I could always count on her to offer guidance on any issue that arises: Changing career paths, navigating relationships, and ultimately deciding where I wanted to be,” Shah said. “She was always excited to learn about where I was at in my development as a physician and has been instrumental in helping me find balance during medical school.”

Mantravadi was recognized along with 21 other outstanding physician mentors this year. Mentors like Matravadi are paramount to the success of medical students.

What it’s like having the Dean as a physician mentor

Having the Dean as a physician mentor might seem like a bit of an intimidating proposition. Luckily for Areisa Peters, a Class of 2021 medical student, any nervousness about being paired with IU School of Medicine’s Dean Jay Hess, MD, PhD, went quickly out the window.

“When I first discovered that Dean Hess would be my physician mentor, I was so nervous,” Peter said. “What are the odds? Here was the man who leads the school and I didn’t know how he would receive me. But he proved to be a gracious person who even took his mentees out to a nice dinner the first time we met. It was nice to get to know each other in a low stress environment. He was always very intentional about including each of us in the conversation. Dean Hess is an easygoing, honest, and encouraging person.”

Under his guidance, Areisa is able to pursue a dream of hers—taking a gap year to obtain a master’s degree in women’s health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Areisa was encouraged by Dean Hess’ words and is now confident in her place at IU School of Medicine—and in her place as a future physician.

Mentors who provide both professional and personal support

Not only do physician mentors provide career guidance, many have also gone above and beyond to help their students. Evansville campus student Kenedi Divine is grateful for the support her mentor Kimberly Foster, MD, provides her—even when it means welcoming Divine into her home.

“Currently, I live in Loogootee, IN, which is approximately an hour and a half away from the base campus of Evansville,” Divine said. “Dr. Foster offered to let me stay with her should I need to in cases of inclement weather. Her generosity, however, does not end there. Dr. Foster also makes sure me and her other mentees receive great shadowing opportunities and professional guidance.”

Putting a personal touch on student support

Emily Walvoord and students at a table

Emily Walvoord, MD, and students at the spring mentor recognition

Mentors work often provide support to numerous mentees. Mentees of Emily Walvoord, MD, all had the same thing to say: She is extremely caring and supportive in their journey through medical school.

“Dr. Walvoord continuously goes above and beyond with every student with whom she crosses paths,” said Shae Jansen, Class of 2021 student. “As one of her mentees, she is always intentional to encourage both academic and personal endeavors. She is thoughtful and caring, and remembers big and little life events so that she can follow up with more encouragement and support. She is a problem solver, student advocate, and empathetic listener.”

Becoming a physician mentor

The Physician Mentor Program began in 2015 as a way to connect medical students with a positive role model who supports them through medical school, provides one-on-one mentoring and a social connection to IU School of Medicine. All IU School of Medicine medical students are assigned to a physician mentor during their first year. Students continue to connect with their physician mentor during all four years of medical training. Interested in becoming a physician mentor? Apply to become a physician mentor today!

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Emily Laughlin