In the summer of 2016 between her first and second years in the MSBS program, Margaret (Maggie) Hung noted that so many of the questions that first-year MSBS students had coming to Sinai were most easily answered by more senior students, leading her to found the MSBS Peer Mentorship Program under the guidance of Dr. Basil Hanss. At that point, the unique advice and needs of MSBS students regarding housing, insurance, financial management, and more were scattered and difficult to get clear answers for, so one of the founding goals of the Peer Mentorship Program was to centralize information and resources for first-year students and to build community between first- and second-year students.
After the creation of Trainee Health and Wellness (THAW) in Fall 2016, concurrent with the Dean’s Task Force on the Learning Environment, a school-wide needs assessment of the barriers to thriving and well-being at Mount Sinai identified the highest priority item: isolationism. To directly target this barrier to thriving, Maggie Hung merged Peer Mentorship with THAW. In collaboration with Casey Lardner, Maggie Hung worked with THAW to expand the Peer Mentorship Program to encompass PhD students, which began in December 2016 and was officially rolled out for incoming PhD students in April 2017.
Since then, we have created self-sustaining peer-mentorship programs within PhD students, select masters’ programs, and postdoctoral fellows, and these peer mentorship programs crossover for career and life mentoring, as well as for social events – all intended to provide trainees with peer support and a sense of community to combat their sense of isolation. See the above links for information on each program.