The Kennedy-Hopkins Scholars Mentor Program is dedicated to improving the experience of underrepresented minority (URM) residents and fellows of Wake Forest School of Medicine through mentoring relationships. Minority residents and fellows benefit from having a program designed specifically to help them navigate and thrive in their medical training by pairing them with a self-selected faculty mentor. By definition a mentor provides advice and guidance, and we believe the long-term success of URM residents and fellows can be positively impacted by this kind of investment.  Through formal mentoring relationships, we aim to strengthen the support systems for URM residents and fellows, facilitate opportunities to build community and ensure that they feel valued through their experiences at Wake Forest. 

The program was developed to address a gap in support for underrepresented minorities in residency and fellowship programs at the School of Medicine. In addition to improving the experiences of URM residents and fellows, the Kennedy-Hopkins Program has evolved into a mechanism to recruit and retain underrepresented minority residents, fellows and staff by exploring the power that relationships can have in the careers of medical professionals.

How the Kennedy-Hopkins Program Works

There are three components to the Kennedy-Hopkins Scholars Mentors Program, each of which is specifically designed to enhance the experience of URM residents and fellows at Wake Forest.


The Kennedy-Hopkins Program facilitates the matching of URM residents and fellows with faculty mentors. Our mentorship process begins with the Bridge Mentor program that guides first-year residents as they adjust to life in Winston-Salem and work at the Medical Center. This initial pairing leads into long-term relationships with faculty mentors. 

Bridge Mentor Program
The Bridge Mentor program is a one-year program for interns (first year residents) to help them learn to navigate life at Wake Forest. Participants are matched with a faculty mentor who provides guidance as they in learn what Winston-Salem has to offer, how to navigate working at the Medical Center and what resources are available, as well as answering any other questions they may have. At the end of the first year, participants have the choice to continue their mentorship or to be re-matched with another faculty mentor. 

Long-term Mentorship
Program participants have the choice to be matched or self-select a faculty mentor based on the characteristics that are important to them in their educational journey. The program facilitates that relationship, assisting residents and fellows in finding a good fit. Faculty mentors provide professional and personal support and are asked to meet regularly with their mentees. Both mentors and mentees receive information and resources to help make the relationship a mutually beneficial one. 


Through a series of lectures and panel discussions, the Kennedy-Hopkins Program helps to enrich the experiences of both mentors and mentees by providing ongoing educational events about mentorship, career development, local resources, health equity and more. Although designed with mentors and mentees in mind, these educational events are open to the Wake Forest community as a whole. Visit the Kennedy-Hopkins Program Events page to learn more about scheduled and past events. 

Community Engagement

The Kennedy-Hopkins Program is dedicated to providing opportunities for residents and fellows to interact with the local community. Community connections create a richer educational experience for residents and fellows, as well as improve the community’s experiences with health care. In the past, the program engaged URM members of the community through health fairs and education and is actively looking for more ways to build a relationship between minority patients and the medical professionals who look like them.

Two African American men, one younger, one older, sit face-to-face with knees almost touching and the older man talks and gestures