Health research mentorship in low-income and middle-income countries: a global qualitative evidence synthesis of data from a crowdsourcing open call and scoping review

Eneyi E. Kpokiri, Kamryn McDonald, Yoseph Gebreyohannes Abraha, Lyda Osorio, Tilak Chandra Nath, Victor A. Talavera-Urdanivia, Olaoluwa Pheabian Akinwale, Yukari Carol Manabe, Barbara Castelnuovo, Weiming Tang, Daniel Yilma, Michael Mihut, Oliver Ezechi, Juliet Iwelunmor, Mirgissa Kaba, Alemseged Abdissa, Joseph D. Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction Research mentorship is critical for advancing science, but there are few practical strategies for cultivating mentorship in health research resource-limited settings. WHO/TDR Global commissioned a group to develop a practical guide on research mentorship. This global qualitative evidence synthesis included data from a crowdsourcing open call and scoping review to identify and propose strategies to enhance research mentorship in low/middle-income country (LMIC) institutions. Methods The crowdsourcing open call used methods recommended by WHO/TDR and solicited descriptions of strategies to enhance research mentorship in LMICs. The scoping review used the Cochrane Handbook and predefined the approach in a protocol. We extracted studies focused on enhancing health research mentorship in LMICs. Textual data describing research mentorship strategies from the open call and studies from the scoping review were coded into themes. The quality of evidence supporting themes was assessed using the Confidence in the Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative research approach. Results The open call solicited 46 practical strategies and the scoping review identified 77 studies. We identified the following strategies to enhance research mentorship: recognising mentorship as an institutional responsibility that should be provided and expected from all team members (8 strategies, 15 studies; moderate confidence); leveraging existing research and training resources to enhance research mentorship (15 strategies, 49 studies; moderate confidence); digital tools to match mentors and mentees and sustain mentorship relations over time (14 strategies, 11 studies; low confidence); nurturing a culture of generosity so that people who receive mentorship then become mentors to others (7 strategies, 7 studies; low confidence); peer mentorship defined as informal and formal support from one researcher to another who is at a similar career stage (16 strategies, 12 studies; low confidence). Interpretation Research mentorship is a collective institutional responsibility, and it can be strengthened in resource-limited institutions by leveraging already existing resources. The evidence from the crowdsourcing open call and scoping review informed a WHO/TDR practical guide. There is a need for more formal research mentorship programmes in LMIC institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere011166
JournalBMJ Global Health
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 6 2024

Keywords

  • Health services research
  • Public Health
  • Qualitative study
  • Review

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