Journal Information
Vol. 56. Issue 12.
Pages 775-776 (December 2020)
Vol. 56. Issue 12.
Pages 775-776 (December 2020)
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The MENTOR Program, Young People, and the Scientific Future of SEPAR
El programa MENTOR, los jóvenes y el futuro científico de la SEPAR
Francisco Javier Callejas-Gonzáleza, Germán Peces-Barbab,c,
Corresponding author

Corresponding author.
, Alvar Agustíc,d
a Servicio de Neumología, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Albacete, Director Comité SEPAR Jóvenes, Albacete, Spain
b Servicio de Neumología, IIS-Fundación Jiménez Díaz Quirón Salud, UAM, Madrid, Spain
c CIBERES (Centro de Investigaciones Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Respiratorias), Spain
d Institut Respiratori, Hospital Clínic, IDIBAPS, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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The origins

The word mentor was used for the first time in Homer’s Odyssey. Mentor was the tutor responsible for the education of Telemachus, Ulysses’ son, during the latter’s long absence in the campaign of the Trojan War. According to Greek mythology, the goddess Athena took on Mentor's form when she wanted to communicate with Telemachus on his journey in search of his father Ulysses. A mentor, then, is a counselor, someone who can give wise and prudent advice and indicate the right path. The most famous mentor in history may have been Aristotle, whose mentee was none less than Alexander the Great.

Mentoring and business

Mentoring is a common activity in modern business. In this arrangement, management teams identify young people with special skills and abilities and recruit them to a specific training plan to help them grow as future leaders of the company, so that they can subsequently take up the baton of responsibility for the business, ensuring the continuity and advancement of the system. A scientific society is not a company, but it has some common features, which include the need to sustain growth, adapt to current situations, and anticipate possible situations that might arise in the future.

Mentorship and scientific societies

If a company binds its employees by way of a work contract, a scientific society binds its members through a common motivation and a collective sense of belonging and “giving back” that enriches the relationship in a very special way. The scientific society helps members access scientific and professional development programs, and the members reciprocate by participating actively and feeding energy back into the group. The jewel in the crown of this relationship is the action-reaction symbiosis that occurs between management teams and members, and between the activities organized by the society and the degree of participation and satisfaction that they generate. Success depends on the members and, primarily, on their responsiveness and the creativity and innovation that they contribute in return.

The SEPAR MENTOR program

Most healthcare professionals already have their own mentor, a respected figure who has played a recognized and much appreciated role in their scientific and professional development, generally oriented toward a particular specialization. In order to expand mentoring opportunities, SEPAR is initiating the MENTOR program with the aim of identifying future leaders and providing them with ambitious cross-sectional and multidisciplinary training that aims to go beyond the usual agenda of a scientific society, that would generally be focused on training, professional development, research, and getting published.1 THE MENTOR program aims to train a select group of young people as potential SEPAR leaders and develop their full capacity for creativity and innovation, with a view to advancing the influence of our scientific society. This program is aimed at our younger SEPAR members and takes a different approach to the traditional path, embracing a cross-sectional concept that includes organizational skills, decision-making, social relations, leadership, etc. This initiative is one of the several programs that SEPAR has implemented for its younger members, that include various Emerging Groups and “SEPAR in the Future”, among others, which also seek to promote the presence of outstanding young SEPAR members.

THE MENTOR program will consist of a basic level, comprising 2 years of training, after which a selected group will be eligible to apply for an additional 2 years at an advanced level. Participants will attend at least 2 face-to-face meetings a year and the various activities scheduled between mentors and mentees will be followed up on-line. There will be 1 mentor for every 4-5 students and candidates will be selected from SEPAR’s Emerging Groups and Specialist Areas. For this first edition, SEPAR areas have identified 21 mentees whose profile meets the MENTOR program requirements. Four mentors with established recognized academic and research backgrounds have been nominated by the Program Steering Committee and approved by the SEPAR Board of Directors, as follows (in alphabetical order): Dr. Alvar Agustí, Dr. Bartolomé Celli, Dr. Ciro Casanova and Dr. Vicente Plaza.

The scientific future of SEPAR

The Spanish Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR)2 is a leading scientific society in Spain and around the world that is highly influential in multiple fields. Our presence is currently consolidated, but we are also planning for a carefully constructed future. If we are to fulfil our potential and increase our circle of influence, we need the participation of our new members. As Newton confessed to Hooke: “If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants”. In the case of SEPAR, at least 50 young specialists join every year in the expectation of being offered shoulders on which to stand. The “Young SEPAR” advisory committee was created with the specific aim of helping new members, including medical residents, pushing them onwards and upwards, and as a corollary, ensuring the future of our scientific society. It is essential that our new members receive the appropriate training.3,4 We must direct, support, welcome, and integrate our fresh faces. Not everyone has the same skills and commitment, but some individuals have a particular desire to work hard, train, cooperate, and contribute ideas. The “Young SEPAR” committee was created with the intention of identifying these people and offering them the support they need to achieve their goals and transmit their enthusiasm to others. Moreover, some individuals have even greater commitment and dedication, and deserve more stimulus, and it is these people who are targeted by the SEPAR MENTOR program, and those in whom SEPAR will invest in the hope of securing the next generation of scientific leaders. Resources are finite, so this special effort and outlay in terms of work, funding and people, can only be justified by selecting individuals who agree to take full advantage of the opportunity and who will equally generous in reinvesting their knowledge and experience in the future.


In conclusion, the MENTOR program is one of the main strategic projects of SEPAR aimed at maintaining quality and leadership among both national and international scientific societies through the incorporation and consolidation of our bright young hopes.

Conflict of interests

F.J. Callejas-González has received honoraria for speaking engagements, research grants as a consultant, and conference support from various pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, Chiesi, Boehringer Ingelheim, Mundipharma, Menarini, Pfizer, Novartis, Esteve, Teva Pharmaceutical, Ferrer, Rovi, Astra Zeneca, and Gebro Pharma. He has been director-coordinator of the Young SEPAR Committee since September 2018.

G. Peces-Barba has received fees for participation in scientific conferences and scientific consultancy from GSK, Boehringer Ingelheim, Menarini, Esteve, and has received funding for scientific projects from GSK, Menarini, Esteve, Boehringer Ingelheim. He is SEPAR Vice President of the Pulmonology area

A. Agustí has received honoraria for participation in scientific conferences and scientific consultancy from Astra-Zeneca, GSK, Boehringer Ingelheim, Menarini, Chiesi, Novartis, and funding for scientific projects from Astra-Zeneca, GSK, Menarini, Boehringer Ingelheim.


We thank Dr. Raúl Godoy Mayoral for his advice and assistance in drafting this article.

The MENTOR program is supported by Chiesi, GSK and Novartis.

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Educar para participar en ciencia y tecnología: un proyecto para la difusión de la cultura científica.
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Please cite this article as: Callejas-González FJ, Peces-Barba G, Agustí A. El programa MENTOR, los jóvenes y el futuro científico de la SEPAR. Arch Bronconeumol. 2020.

Copyright © 2019. SEPAR
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