Skip to Content
School of Medicine Logo
Student looking through a microscope with a faculty member overseeing the lab experiment.

Mentoring Program

One of the strengths of our school is our tremendous clinical and academic network, with over 6500 physicians in 160 locations throughout New Jersey. All students will work with at least one physician specialty mentor to help guide their professional development and professional identity formation, but students may request additional mentors in a variety of areas. The primary focus of physician mentorship is to assist students in identifying, exploring and achieving their desired career goals/ path. An overview of the types and assignment of physician mentors is described below.

Specialty Mentoring Program

Specialty mentors are practicing physicians with first-hand, in-depth/current knowledge of a specific field of medicine. Their primary responsibility is to help students make the most informed career decisions. Each student will be paired with one or more Specialty Mentor(s) to assist in making the best specialty choice for their particular career goals and interests. Students may opt to be paired with Specialty Mentor(s) at any point in Phase 1 and will be assigned one if they have not selected one by the first quarter of Phase 2. Students electing to enter residency for their Phase 3 option will be connected with a Specialty Mentor no later than the second half of Phase I. Students may select Specialty Mentors from their clinical experiences or be connected to physicians by their Academic Advisor. The recommended frequency of meetings or other informal contact is on a monthly basis and mentors submit a summary form of meetings at least every 6 months.

Specialty Mentors can assist with exploring or offer guidance in the following areas:

  • lifestyle and practice settings,
  • competitiveness, compensation and "goodness of fit",
  • choosing rotations and clinical experiences to best explore areas of interest,
  • how to best plan and prepare for the interview process and the National Residency Matching Program,
  • considerations for early entry into residency training, specialty and subspecialty training options, combined training programs, away rotations and other topics related to planning for a career in a specific field of medicine, and may also assist with academic or life challenges as needed.
Affinity Mentoring Program

Students who are interested in guidance, professional identity formation and/or support based on skills, interests, or personal characteristics (such as first generation medical students, ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, gender, sexuality, advocacy, future practice setting, hobbies, alumni) may request to be paired with an affinity mentor. The Office of Student Affairs and Wellbeing will have a directory of physicians wishing to be affinity mentors and the characteristics that they possess and are passionate about. Affinity mentors may help a student arrange for additional services and experiences that are helpful for the student's development (attend a particular clinic, observe a procedure, try an activity, attend an event).

Research and Scholarly Activity Mentoring Program

Research and scholarly activity mentors are physicians or other professionals with specific skill sets who will provide expert mentoring for students interested in pursuing research, scholarly activity, or careers in academic medicine. Once a mentee is assigned, a research scholarly activity plan will be developed and incorporated into the student's individualized learning plan. This research/ scholarly activity plan will detail the student's project, frequency of meetings and other timeframes and goals for completion such as submitting an abstract by a certain date, presenting at a local, regional or national meeting, selecting and scheduling advanced clinical rotations or elective experiences, Phase 3 planning, etc. Plans that significantly alter a student's overall ILP will require approval of the Associate Dean for Research and the Student Progress and Review Committee.

Shadowing Program

Shadowing is a short-term, brief extracurricular activity that allows students additional exposure to clinical medicine. Shadowing experiences consist of observation of doctor-patient interactions and medical procedures, and are used to inform and support career planning activities. A student may shadow for a few hours to observe a particular procedure, or return to shadow the same physician over a brief period of time. Shadowing experiences may turn into mentoring relationships, which are broader and consist of meetings and conversations outside of clinical practice. Shadowing does not include any hands-on activities with patients.

If you would like to shadow a physician

  1. If you already know a physician you would like to shadow and who is either an approved mentor or teaching faculty, you may reach out to that physician about their availability. Please contact Dr. Dedow if you would like to shadow in a particular field but need to be connected with a physician, or you are not sure if a physician you would like to shadow has completed the background check process.
  2. When you have arranged with a physician to shadow them, you must fill out the online Shadowing Experience Request Form at least one week prior to the date you would like shadow if it is the first time you have requested to shadow a particular physician (subsequent requests can be submitted with only 3 days notice). This form will allow us to be aware of student shadowing activities and also to communicate with Hackensack Meridian network hospitals to make sure they're aware/prepared and can fully support you and their patients while you are on site. You will receive final verification from SAW if/when your shadowing request is approved.

Objectives for the Shadowing Program

  1. To assist students in identifying, exploring and achieving a desired career goal/path.
  2. To foster relationships between medical students and physicians; to provide students opportunities to interact with future colleagues.
  3. To nurture inspiration, motivation and enthusiasm for a career in medicine.
  4. To observe how career choices impact lifestyle.
  5. To learn more about the complexities of the medical profession.

Activities you may observe while shadowing include:

  1. See patients in office; observe administrative activities & all aspects of office practice.
  2. Hospital rounds at HUMC*
  3. ER activities/procedures at HUMC*
  4. Observation of operating room/surgical procedures at HUMC (once OR training certification class is completed).*

*Currently you are only cleared for HUMC inpatient shadowing. Additional HMH locations will be added as we are able to verify that you have met the compliance requirements. We will inform you when this occurs.

Other important information:

  1. When at HUMC, all students must display their ID badges at all times.
  2. You do not need to work with the Volunteer Services office at HUMC. You are already processed as a volunteer with all of the compliance procedures you have already completed.

We hope that you enjoy your shadowing experiences! This is an excellent initial opportunity to learn more about the practice of medicine to help you decide whether or not to pursue more in-depth experiences in a specialty.

Please contact Dr. Dedow, or Dr. Saks at with any questions or concerns.

Back to top