Dr. Jarushka Naidoo, a consultant medical oncologist at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, Ireland who focuses on immunotherapy and is an LCFA Young Investigator Grant recipient

Dr. David Tom Cooke, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of California Davis Health System specializing in cancer surgery

Dr. Christian Rolfo, a thoracic oncologist who is associate director for clinical research in the Center for Thoracic Oncology/Tisch Cancer Institute, Mount Sinai, New York.

Our guests talk about how peers, friend-tors, and academic mentors can help you see potential in yourself that you may not have known. All this support is especially important to the success of minority and ethnic researchers who are looking to focus on a lung cancer specialty.

“Mentors are those guiding lights that help us to progress to the next stage and to see paths where we may not have seen them before.” – Dr. Jarushka Naidoo

Academic Mentors Help Make the Connections

Academic mentors are necessary for advancing a researcher’s career and accessing lung cancer research funding. There are a variety of approaches to mentoring and different mentors may bring different skills.

A mentor can mean different things at different stages in your career. A mentor fundamentally means a teacher. Like teachers, a researcher needs a different type of teaching at different times in their careers.

One of the things that is important about mentors is to realize that not all mentors are going to teach a researcher the same lessons, but the mentee will carry those lessons through their career. Some of the different kinds of mentors are:

  • peer mentors – at your stage or a little bit senior to you who might teach you how to get things done
  • friendtors – people who are at your stage and understand what you might need day-to-day.
  • classic academic mentors – a senior mentor who has a bird’s eye view of careers and how they can guide your career forward

The Importance of Finding Academic Mentors

“…it’s important to establish a mentor, someone who introduces you to the scientific method from an early age, and guides you through a proper development pathway to understanding investigated research.” – Dr. David Tom Cooke

You can take skills from mentors from different areas covering your needs, and giving you expertise in different fields. A good academic mentor can instill a genuine love for the specialty. They can help to navigate the interplay between understanding the different specialties. That in turn leads to contributing to the world of oncology, and the true commitment to lifelong learning.