Mentoring Experiences: Faculty Mentors at the University of Pennsylvania Help Scholars Prepare for Success in the New World of Population Health

Health & Society Scholars

Synopsis of Work: Although the United States spends more for medical care than any other country in the world, it ranks poorly on many indicators of health and well-being. Although experts know that medical care has a limited impact on the health of populations, 95 percent of spending on health in the United States between 1994 and 1998 went to medical care, with 5 percent allocated to population-wide approaches to improving health.

The University of Pennsylvania established two master's degree programs—public health and health policy research—in part due to the influence of Health & Society Scholars. The program has built bridges between the population studies program and the school of medicine and fostered interdisciplinary research.

"There's no better way to bring in faculty and get them working on interdisciplinary projects than through highly-placed programs like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program," said Penn program co-director Dave A. Asch, M.D., M.B.A.

Story Told: "Everyone needs mentors, people you get advice from, people who help connect you to opportunities you didn't know about. There are mentors who help with research projects and mentors who help with career decisions and mentors who offer a shoulder to cry on or sing your praises," said Asch. "Mentoring fills different functions for different people."