Mentoring: A Critical Component of Successful Research

Dr. ThomasMentorship comes in many forms. Charles Thomas, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Radiation Medicine, is a strong believer in multiple mentors. "Mentoring is not just a one-person job. I like to use the analogy 'it takes a village to raise a child'—similarly, it takes a village, or community, to put together a successful grant application," he said.

Dr. Thomas recognized the potential of one of his medical physicist faculty, James Tanyi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Medicine, and encouraged him to apply for a 2010 RSNA Research Scholar Grant to study quantitative methodology to measure head/neck cancer patient response to combined chemo/radiotherapy.

The application was not funded; however, Dr. Thomas remained supportive and directed Dr. Tanyi to remain vigilant and not be discouraged—the 2011 resubmission was successful.

Dr. Thomas concluded, "One of my jobs as a department chair and mentor was to help put together the community that led to Dr. Tanyi's success. No one person does the job of mentoring alone. There are clinical mentors, scientific mentors; rarely is there a single mentor that has the skillset necessary to be effective in all the roles of mentorship. Successful mentorship comes from teams, much like a graduate thesis committee."


Drs. Thomas and Tanyi featured on mentoring video produced by the Radiological Society of North America Research & Education Foundation.

Pictured (From left) Dr. Tanyi and Dr. Thomas

Re-published courtesy Radiological Society of North America