How Does Bridge Work?
ENROLL. Interested physicians and researchers fill out a survey describing their work and availability to mentor. Interested learners then fill out a survey describing the type of experience (clinical shadowing, research, or professional mentorship) and type of mentor (e.g. specific specialty, shared identity) that they are seeking.
CONNECT. The Bridge lead team will then search the mentor surveys to find a good match for the learner and make an email introduction on the designated mentor match day. For certain requests, a member of the Bridge Lead Team will reach out to schedule a brief meeting with the goal of finding you the best possible mentor fit.
GROW. After the mentor and mentee get a chance to meet, the Bridge lead team will check in to make sure that things are going well, and if not, provide coaching or a new match.
What Does Mentorship Mean, Exactly?
Broadly, mentorship means that a more experienced individual (the mentor) provides guidance and support for a less experienced individual (the mentee) to help them achieve their goals. Practically, this can take many different forms. Bridge is intended to facilitate a match between mentors and mentees, the actual mentorship is completely up to the individuals involved.
There should be an initial meeting where goals and expectations are clearly discussed, to find a plan that works for both the mentor and mentee. This could look like a one-time clinical shadowing experience, involvement in a research project, or monthly meetings to discuss professional goals.
Who are the Bridge Mentors?
Currently we have a database of approximately 300 potential physician and research mentors from many departments within University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). This group includes physicians who care for patients in the hospital and/or in the clinic, as well as those who focus primarily on research. All have finished their formal medical and/or PhD training. They are from diverse backgrounds and experiences, but all are excited to connect with learners through Bridge.
Who can be a Bridge Mentee?
Currently, we are accepting mentees who self-identify from a background underrepresented in medicine, and who are associated with any of the following organizations:
- Academic/Summer STEP (Science and Technology Entry Program)
- What's Up Doc
- RCSD (Rochester City School District)
- UR Medicine Mentor Pods
- SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship)
- UR PreDoc Program
- MAPS (Minority Association of Premedical Students)
- SNMA (Student National Medical Association)
- LMSA (Latino Medical Student Association)
- RMAC (Rochester Medical Accessibility Coalition)
- AMRF (Association of Minority Residents and Fellows)
- Monroe Community College CSTEP (Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program)
- Teen Health & Success Partnership
- Black Physicians Network of Greater Rochester
In the future, we hope to be able to expand to serve the broader community. If you are involved with a program that you believe should be Bridge-eligible (serving learners from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine with members interested in health careers), please contact BridgeProgram@urmc.rochester.edu.
What Paperwork is Necessary to be a Part of Bridge?
The only thing necessary to get started is to fill out the Bridge intake survey on our Sign Up page. Afterwards, mentees who want to participate in clinical shadowing (meaning seeing patients with their mentor) will need to review specific hospital policies (such as those relating to patient privacy) and provide documentation confirming their identity and vaccination status. Of note, COVID vaccination is required for all clinical shadowing, and flu vaccination is required if shadowing occurs between October-April. The Bridge lead team will provide the required documents, and these can filed with the mentor’s division administrators once completed. Bridge does not need a copy of the required documents.
Mentors who are working with mentees under age 18 will be required to have an up-to-date background check on file; again, the Bridge lead team will assist with this process.
If research mentees will have access to protected health information (PHI), their mentor should fill out the PHI Compliance Form.
If I Don’t Have Access to a Car, How Do I Get to the Hospital or Clinic to Meet my Mentor or Shadow Them?
UR undergraduate students can use the Blue Line shuttle to get between River Campus and the Medical Center. For mentees not coming from River Campus or going somewhere other than the Medical Center, you can indicate on your intake survey that transportation might be an issue and we will work to help find a solution that doesn’t cause financial strain.
What if I Have Trouble Connecting with my Mentor?
Mentees should understand that mentors tend to have extremely busy schedules and might not always be prompt in responding to emails. If a week has gone by without hearing back from a mentor about a specific question, mentees can send a brief follow up (along the lines of, “please let me know if you’ve gotten a chance to think about my question”). If another week passes with no response, please reach out to BridgeProgram@urmc.rochester.edu.
If a mentoring relationship is not working out for other reasons, either the mentor or mentee can reach out to BridgeProgram@urmc.rochester.edu for guidance or a new match.