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Mentoring for Success in Tobacco Regulatory Science: A Qualitative Study

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Objectives: Our study explores the experiences of early career and senior scientists regarding mentorship and career trajectories in tobacco regulatory science (TRS). Methods: We conducted 22 phone interviews with early career and senior tobacco regulatory scientists from July 2015 to January 2016. All interviews were conducted using a structured interview guide and analyzed using a thematic approach by 2 independent coders. Results: TRS presents specific opportunities and challenges to scientists due to its focused goal of informing tobacco regulation. An understanding of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) research priorities and how science can inform tobacco regulation are essential for effective mentorship in TRS. Careers in TRS can be pursued in various academic and non-academic professional roles; both offer the distinct ability to conduct science that impacts public policy. Early career and senior scientists identified the importance and challenge of providing broad training across the diverse disciplines of TRS. Conclusions: Effective mentorship in TRS requires that mentors possess an in-depth understanding of the scientific, regulatory, and legislative processes inherent to tobacco regulatory policy-making. A training program for mentors specific to TRS has the potential to meet diverse professional needs of mentors and mentees aiming to impact tobacco policy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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