Honoring Expert Teachers

Seventh Annual Faculty Mentoring Awards Honor Exemplary Mentors

What does it take to be a great mentor? Speakers at Einstein’s seventh annual Faculty Mentoring Awards reception offered many answers to this question --all of which describe this year’s award recipients, Dr. John Greally (basic sciences) and Dr. Paul Marantz (clinical sciences).  Hosted by the office of diversity mentoring in Lubin Dining Hall, the event drew more than 60 faculty, family members and guests.

Event keynote speaker, Dr. Christine Pfund
Event keynote speaker, Dr. Christine Pfund
Drs. Masako Suzuki, research assistant professor of genetics, and Robert Goodman, assistant professor of medicine, presented the awards to their respective mentors.

“Mentors engage, excite and inspire you,” said Dr. Genevieve Neal-Perry, then associate dean for diversity mentoring, in her welcoming remarks. “They are nurturing, honest, open-minded, forward thinking. And, they elevate and uplift their mentees.”

The Award Presentations

Over the years, noted Dr. Suzuki, Dr. Greally, director of Einstein’s Center for Epigenomics, has mentored graduate students and postdocs from nine different countries, most of whom, like her, are non-native English speakers.

“Sometimes, when I get excited about an idea, I think in both Japanese and English, and my spoken English may come out muddled,” she confided. “But John has a special skill in translating ‘Japa-English.’

Dr. John Greally (left) with mentee, Dr. Masako Suzuki
Dr. John Greally (left) with mentee, Dr. Masako Suzuki
“John encourages scientific independence while giving you the framework to ensure your projects will succeed,” Dr. Suzuki continued, citing Dr. Greally’s “compassion, supportive nature, high standards and broad scientific knowledge.”

Dr. Suzuki credited Dr. Greally with her switch from basic biology to translational research, which led to her receiving a career development award from the Harold and Muriel Block Institute for Clinical & Translational Research at Einstein and Montefiore and a promotion.

“The secret of mentorship is very simple,” Dr. Greally responded. “You choose your mentees very carefully. They should be people whose company you enjoy--people you want to see succeed in the future.”

In introducing Dr. Marantz, associate dean for clinical research education, Dr. Goodman injected some light-hearted humor, referencing an episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry dates a woman who has a mentor. On a more serious note, he observed, “Paul has a rare ability to see things from many sides, and to give advice that’s multi-faceted and reflects a genuine commitment and concern for placing the needs of his mentees first and foremost .”

Dr. Paul Marantz (right) with mentee, Dr. Robert Goodman
Dr. Paul Marantz (right) with mentee, Dr. Robert Goodman
Dr. Goodman then shared written tributes from several other mentees of Dr. Marantz. From Dr. Julia Arnsten, director of the Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research and chief of general internal medicine at Montefiore, he read: “My own mentoring style and basic desire to be a mentor derives largely from my experience with Paul… I seek his advice and guidance regularly, and expect to do so for the remainder of my career.”

He also shared comments from his other nominating mentees, Dr. Cristina Gonzalez, an assistant professor of medicine who has interacted with Dr. Marantz since she was a first-year medical student, and Dr. Ben Kligler, associate professor of clinical family & social medicine.

Dr. Marantz’s acceptance remarks featured a tongue-in-cheek “Top 10 List of Reasons Why Mentoring Is Better than Parenting.” Among them: “When you give advice you’ll likely be heeded—and also know what you’re talking about.”

A Shout-Out to Einstein

Keynote speaker Dr. Christine Pfund, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, spoke about a national initiative to raise cultural awareness among research scientists who mentor people whose backgrounds differ from their own. She cited Einstein as one of few institutions that formally recognize the critical role mentors play in the lives and careers of their mentees.

“By inspiring a new generation of scientists and clinicians, mentors contribute to our country’s future,” said Dr. Edward Burns, executive dean. He identified three keys to effective mentoring: a sense of humor, the ability to listen and letting your mentees know that you believe in them.

Posted on: Friday, March 27, 2015