What are Launch Teams?
Launch Teams are a team-based approach to individualized mentorship. Modeled after the Faculty Launch Program for early-career faculty members, Launch Teams were recently expanded to include residents starting their Academic Development Time (ADT). The goal of Launch Teams is to provide mentorship to residents as they navigate their careers and help them achieve their full potential as academic surgeons and leaders. Residents select a group of mentors, frequently from a wide variety of departments or colleges at the University of Michigan, to meet throughout their research years.
Why do residents need launch teams?
I remember applying to the University of Michigan for residency and thinking that the reason why I wanted to train here was because of the seemingly endless research and educational possibilities. Although I am focusing the bulk of my time in a basic science/translational research lab, I have also had the chance to be involved in resident education, apply for innovation grants, collaborate with engineers, and perform clinical research projects. With so many exciting options, I think it is easy to lose sight of the big picture of what I ultimately want my career to look like and how to achieve that goal.
I had my first Launch Team meeting in October and it was an incredibly formative experience. I selected 6 mentors who I admired for their careers and the balance they had created between their academic, clinical, and personal lives and asked them for their guidance on my own path to achieving that success. My diverse team includes surgeons, biomedical engineers, and research faculty, all of whom provide critical insights into the uniquely multidisciplinary careers of academic surgeons.
How has my launch team helped me?
I have dreamed of being an academic surgeon and running a basic science/translational lab for as long as I can remember. But, this year has sparked other curiosities for me such as medical device innovation and clinical trials. The members of my Launch Team have been crucial in helping me prioritize and make necessary connections so that I do not become lost in all of my interests. For example, in order to learn more about clinical trials, I was set up with two physicians who are involved in running many of the trials through our cancer center, and I was encouraged to research and apply to the ASCO/AACR workshop on clinical trial design. I also received key input on which national meetings I should be attending and who I should be seeking out at those meetings. Most importantly, however, I am inspired by how many mentors clearly want to help me achieve success and my program’s commitment to resident excellence. As the Launch Teams continue to evolve, I am confident that this experience will be invaluable to resident growth and wellness.
Article by Ton Wang, MD
Reach out to join the conversation or to learn more about how to implement the Michigan Promise. Connect with the Department of Surgery or our faculty on Twitter to share your ideas or get in touch with the Office of Faculty & Resident Life to schedule a Michigan Promise presentation at your institution. You can also fill out our Michigan Promise Inquiry Form with any questions or comments.
Department of Surgery Office of Faculty & Resident Life
2210F Taubman Center
1500 E. Medical Center Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109