Winter (Volume 28, Number 4)
Mentoring Future Leaders in
Over the past nine years, the CRA has nurtured its
mentorship program, designed for early career
stage rheumatologists who are likely to become
leaders in research, education, and/or advocacy in Canada.
Dubbed FLIRT, short for Future Leaders in RheumaTology,
this program operates in two-year cycles, comprised of various
initiatives identified directly with its participants, and
in collaboration with Canadian mentors as well as expert
advisors. The program teaches its participants valuable
leadership skills including peer reviewing, mentor-mentee
training, coaching, communication and presentation
styles, among other skills. Another focus of FLIRT is important
skill-building initiatives such as time management, career
progression, interpersonal relations, setting expectations
and the importance of managing a practical work-life
FLIRT has involved participants from across the country
in both adult and pediatric rheumatology, both those
involved in community practice and in academia. Participants
include basic scientists, clinical researchers, teachers
and those with other roles at their institutions or
within their communities. All nomination submissions are
peer-reviewed and are accepted to participate in the program
based on their CV, letter of intent and reference letter.
These groups of participants, including those among
the many cycles of graduates, are varied in age and interest
with a variety of career pathways. As a result, the program
creates outstanding discussion and networking opportunities.
which also serve to strengthen the bonds within the
rheumatology community. FLIRT participants ultimately
represent the future of rheumatology within Canada.
As the program approaches its tenth year of operation,
several past graduates have moved on to leadership positions
at their institutions and various other establishments,
including within the CRA. The current program cycle runs
until spring 2020, at which point another call for applications
will go out to members of the CRA. If you would like
to learn more about the Future Leaders in RheumaTology
mentorship program, please visit the Canadian Rheumatology
Association’s website at rheum.ca/flirt-mentorship-program/.