Professional development for biomedical doctoral and postdoctoral trainees is vital, especially due to the increase in individuals pursuing non-faculty career paths. We created a professional development-focused discussion group between trainees and faculty/staff by utilizing a book club format in which monthly small group meetings occurred over an 8-month period. A pre- and post-survey consisting of Likert and free-response questions was completed by participants. Results demonstrated that after the book club, trainees: 1) were more knowledgeable about a variety of career paths; 2) had improved awareness of their interests in relation to their career; 3) were more knowledgeable of their transferrable skills; 4) were more comfortable engaging with their PI and completing/updating an Individual Development Plan; 5) were more likely to find mentors in addition to their PI to address career specific needs; and 6) were more likely to seek opportunities to conduct informational interviews or experiential learning. Additionally, we found that faculty/staff: 1) were more knowledgeable about careers outside of academia; 2) had greater consideration for their mentee's values and interests in relation to their career; 3) had a better understanding of their mentee's transferable skills; and 4) were more comfortable engaging with their mentee about their career path and addressing an Individual Development Plan. Overall, we found that the utilization of a book club consisting of trainees and faculty/staff as a professional development tool was beneficial for both groups of participants, and this format is feasible for use in biomedical education professional development.

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Published in Heliyon, v. 8, issue 1, e08675.

© 2021 The Author(s)

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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The authors thank the Graduate School at the University of Kentucky for funding.