SOCS Mentorship Experiences: Highly Rewarding for  Mentors and Mentees Alike!

August 16, 2022
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As an important signature program of the Skin of Color Society, the SOCS Mentorship Program provides richly rewarding experiences for mentees and mentors alike. 

Available exclusively to SOCS members, this meaningful program connects physicians-in-training with an approved skin of color dermatology expert for a mentorship experience that may last up to a year. There are many benefits to participating in the SOCS Mentorship program:  
• You will have the opportunity to build positive working relationships. 
• You will be able to acquire and share new knowledge and skills in skin of color dermatology.  
• You can collaborate in research opportunities in skin of color.  
• You can enjoy networking opportunities with other skin of color experts.  

Here are excerpts of what some recent mentees have to say about their mentorship  experiences with SOCS mentors:

 Thanks to the SOCS Mentorship Program, my time with Dr. Brandi Kenner-Bell has been enriching, educationally and professionally.

She was attuned to many of the same challenges that I experienced navigating the healthcare field as not only a minority but also a woman. Through our many zoom sessions, she shared with me her journey into dermatology and the obstacles she had to overcome.

Additionally, as a practicing pediatric dermatologist, wife, and mother, she revealed to me the realities of fulfilling these roles and how to strive for the best work-life balance. Dr.Kenner-Bell is a natural mentor. She spent time reviewing my CV with me, sharing dermatological research opportunities, and discussing ways to enhance my application. She also became my biggest cheerleader and confidant, supporting and encouraging me on my journey and always lending an open ear during times of doubt.  Dr. Kenner-Bell has served as real-life confirmation that my dreams of becoming a  dermatologist are valid and attainable and has given me the self-efficacy and confidence to relentlessly pursue the field of dermatology.  Deciding to pursue dermatology as a Black female is a journey on an untrodden  trail. The paucity of role models, representation, and resources to support Black  students interested in dermatology is stark. Finding opportunities like the Skin of  Color Society Mentorship program is crucial for me in my pursuit of matching into a  dermatology residency program and achieving my goal of becoming a practicing  dermatologist and minority health clinical researcher.—Mentee Ashley Obi, mentored by Dr. Brandi Kenner-Bell in 2021.

“It has been an absolute pleasure to be mentored by Dr. Tarannum Jaleel through (the SOCS Mentorship) program. As an Iranian immigrant with skin that sometimes passes as white and sometimes does not, I do not necessarily see my skin represented in traditional dermatology media – let alone that of my Black and Brown friends.

When the pandemic struck in early 2020, I came across your SOCS mentorship program on  Instagram. As a Canadian medical student, I was grateful to match to a mentor  from the US, which is championing the SOC representation movement.  One of the most valuable outcomes for me was to  learn more from Dr. Jaleel about the few SOC textbooks that existed at the time. With Dr. Jaleel’s encouragement, I helped make change in a big way on a local  scale – I led the Dermatology component of an anti-racist review of McGill’s entire  pre-clerkship curriculum. As the Dermatology lead, I dove into ethnodermatology  resources and found SOC pictures to include alongside each condition in our dermatology lectures. I am most proud of the feedback we have received from class mates, residents, and staff physicians, who shared they are finally seen.”Mentee  Nickoo Merati, mentored by Dr. Tarannum Jaleel in 2021.

Being a resident during the pandemic has made it difficult to form connections with skin of color faculty. I really enjoyed my experience with the mentorship program and am grateful to the SOCS for allowing me to meet Dr. Janiene Luke at Loma Linda. For the last year, I developed a mentor relationship with Dr. Luke through our monthly zoom meetings. As a third-year resident, I found our meetings to be very useful for discussing post-residency career planning, cosmetics, and how to supplement my knowledge to feel more comfortable treating skin diseases in skin of color patients. Most importantly, I was able to openly discuss my own  feelings of inadequacy and “imposter syndrome” that I have experienced in residency and during my job search.

The most memorable part of the experience was meeting Dr. Luke at the SOCS  AAD pre-meeting in March.My takeaways from the experience are to trust in my abilities, not be afraid to ask  questions, and be assured that even after residency there is continued learning  while in practice.”Mentee Krystina Quow, mentored by Dr. Janiene  Luke in 2021.

To read the full Mentorship experiences from these featured mentees as well as  others, visit this page. The SOCS Mentorship program is accepting applications for SOCS mentors and  mentees for the 2023-2024 cycle until December 1, 2022. Visit here to learn more.