Service Spotlight: Peer Mentoring Program
Peer support is rooted in the belief that no one needs to travel their health care journey alone. Indeed, when patients can meet with and learn from individuals who have gone through similar health challenges, it often makes their experience easier and healing process more effective.
At Michigan Medicine, more than 12 units/clinics in both the adult and pediatric service areas have developed peer mentoring programs for their populations, with mentor training and onboarding coordinated through the Office of Patient Experience. The program — which was created four years ago — has trained more than 100 patients and caregivers to provide peer support to individuals across the organization. (Click here to see which areas of the organization already have a peer mentoring program in place.)
Peer mentoring provides a number of benefits to patients, including:
- An increased ability to self-manage care with reinforced learning of disease management skills.
- Enhanced self-esteem, self-efficacy and healthy living behaviors.
- Improved confidence in communicating with physicians and clinical staff in discussion of care.
- Access to a peer who models how to positively adjust to health care challenges, navigate the health system, and create effective and beneficial relationships with clinicians and caregivers.
Celeste C. Lee, a former Patient and Family Centered Care program manager, was instrumental in coordinating and creating the formal peer mentoring program at Michigan Medicine.
At 17, Lee was diagnosed with Wegener’s granulomatosis, a rare disease that eventually leads to kidney failure and a kidney transplant. When she was diagnosed 35 years ago, Celeste did not have the support system for which she advocated — and then worked decades to create. Read more about her efforts here.
If you want to find a peer mentor for a patient, wish to set up a peer mentoring program in your area or know of a patient interested in becoming a mentor, email UMHS-PFCC@umich.edu.