Positive Peer Pressure and Peer Mentoring for Physical Therapy Faculty


The purpose of this session is to share ideas regarding positive peer pressure and peer mentoring initiatives through sharing and discussion of these experiences in academic PT departments.

Methods and/or Description of Project

Although “peer pressure” is traditionally considered to be a negative influence on behavior, the concept of “positive peer pressure” describes an approach for healthy behavior change through the social pressure of a peer group (Rosenburg 2011). Positive peer pressure and peer mentoring group initiatives have received recent attention as novel strategies to increase scholarly productivity, improve faculty retention, and provide support specifically for women faculty or underrepresented minority faculty (Brandon 2015; Varkey 2012; Heinrich 2012). Women faculty in academic medical centers have been found to face specific barriers with promotion to senior leadership positions related to bias (Pingleton 2016, Carr 2015 & 2017), and formal programs that provide peer mentoring opportunities may be helpful to address these challenges (Bauman 2014). This session will present examples of highly-successful positive peer pressure initiatives used in an academic PT department for two very diverse target behaviors: increasing the number of manuscript and grant submissions; and increasing faculty members’ daily physical activity levels. Other peer mentoring and peer leadership initiatives will be presented that 1) promote teaching excellence and faculty collaboration in DPT education; 2) provide support for issues encountered with mentoring PhD students; and 3) increase leadership skills for individuals at different stages of their career. Formal programs that provide structured positive peer pressure and peer mentoring relationships may be an effective strategy for leadership development among PT faculty.


(See course objectives)

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education

Walking the Talk: Leadership and advocacy


Bauman MD et al (2014). The Women in Medicine and Health Science program: an innovative initiative to support female faculty at the University of California Davis School of Medicine. Acad Med. 89(11):1462-6. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000403

Brandon C (2015). Peer support of a faculty "writers' circle" increases confidence and productivity in generating scholarship. Acad Radiol. 534-8. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2014.12.006.

Carr PL et al (2015). Inadequate progress for women in academic medicine: findings from the National Faculty Study. Womens Health (Larchmt). 2015 Mar;24(3):190-9. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2014.4848

Carr PL et al (2017). Recruitment, Promotion, and Retention of Women in Academic Medicine: How Institutions Are Addressing Gender Disparities. Womens Health Issues. S1049-3867(16)30339-5. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2016.11.003

Heinrich KT (2012). How a faculty group's peer mentoring of each other's scholarship can enhance retention and recruitment. J Prof Nurs. 28(1):5-12. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2011.06.002.

Pingleton SK et al (2016). Silent Bias: Challenges, Obstacles, and Strategies for Leadership Development in Academic Medicine-Lessons From Oral Histories of Women Professors at the University of Kansas. Acad Med. 2016 Aug;91(8):1151-7. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000001125

Rosenberg T (2011) Join the Club: How Peer Pressure can Transform the World. WW. Norton & Co. New York.

Varkey P et al (2012) The positive impact of a facilitated peer mentoring program on academic skills of women faculty. BMC Med Educ.23;12:14. doi: 10.1186/1472-6920-12-14.

Course Objectives

Identify barriers and challenges for leadership development among PT faculty
Define the concepts of positive peer pressure and peer mentoring groups
Consider examples of positive peer pressure and how it could be applied to address different target behaviors
Develop strategies for implementing positive peer pressure or peer mentoring group leadership initiatives at any career stage

Instructional Methods

presentation / panel discussion / question and answer

Tentative Outline/Schedule

I. Introduction / overview of peer leadership initiatives – 10 min

II. Positive peer pressure applications with PT faculty -- 40 min
* Audacious writing goal
* Physical activity challenge
* DPT teaching circle
* PhD mentoring circle

III. Peer leadership with a broader group: Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS) – 20 min
* Circles for individuals at different stages of career
* Programming geared towards mentorship, leadership skills, networking

IV. Peer leadership for leaders – Developing Divas Book Club -- 10 min

V. Panel discussion Q/A – 10 min

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  • Control #: 2744484
  • Type: Educational Session
  • Event/Year: ELC2017
  • Authors: Dr. Patricia Kluding, Catherine Siengsukon, Susan Wainwright
  • Keywords:

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