Membership in the Context of Interdisciplinary Geriatric Research

Lessons Learned from the RAND/Hartford Program for Building Interdisciplinary Geriatric Health Care Research Centers

Published in: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, v. 60, no. 8, Aug. 2012, p. 1546-1555

Posted on on August 01, 2012

by Donna J. Keyser, Zainab Abedin, Dana Schultz, Harold Alan Pincus

Read More

Access further information on this document at Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

In light of the growing trend toward formalized research mentorship for effectively transmitting the values, standards, and practices of science from one generation of researchers to the next, this article provides the results of an exploratory study. It reports on research mentorship in the context of interdisciplinary geriatric research based on experiences with the RAND/Hartford Program for Building Interdisciplinary Geriatric Research Centers. At the end of the 2-year funding period, staff from the RAND Coordinating Center conducted 60- to 90-minute open-ended telephone interviews with the co-directors of the seven centers. Questions focused on interdisciplinary mentorship activities, barriers to implementing these activities, and strategies for overcoming them, as well as a self-assessment tool with regard to programs, policies, and structures across five domains, developed to encourage research mentorship. In addition, the mentees at the centers were surveyed to assess their experiences with interdisciplinary mentoring and the center. According to the interviewees, some barriers to successful interdisciplinary mentoring included the mentor's lack of time, structural support, and the lack of a clear definition of interdisciplinary research. Most centers had formal policies in place for mentor identification and limited policies on mentor incentives. Mentees uniformly reported their relationships with their mentors as positive. More than 50% of mentees reported having a primary mentor from within their discipline and had more contact with their primary mentor than their secondary mentors. Further research is needed to understand the complexity of institutional levers that emerging programs might employ to encourage and support research mentorship.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.