What is the merit review mentor program?

Mission: To serve as a resource for patients and stakeholders participating in the review of PCORI research funding applications through personalized, experiential support.

Vision: To advance PCORI’s engagement imperatives through meaningful involvement of patient and stakeholder communities in the conduct of research-reviewing processes.

What are the goals of the mentor program?

  1. To provide patient and stakeholder merit reviewers the support needed to participate successfully in PCORI Merit Review. 
  2. Support patient and stakeholder reviewers as they are writing reviews to ensure that the reviews are high quality and fully address PCORI’s merit review criteria. 
  3. Help patient and stakeholder reviewers contextualize and articulate their unique reviewer perspectives in their written reviews and in preparation for in-person panel discussions.

Who are mentors?

Mentors are a subset of our merit reviewers. They are veteran reviewers who have substantial experience serving on merit review panels. Mentors represent a range of patient and stakeholder communities including patients, caregivers, family members, patient advocates, clinicians, researchers, purchasers, payers, industry, hospital and health systems, policy makers, and training institutions.

Meet our Merit Review Mentors: Sharon Cross

In this pair of videos, Sharon Cross shares why she chose to serve as a PCORI merit review mentor and how she works with first-time reviewers.

Meet Our Merit Review Mentors: Ladd Colston

In this pair of videos, Ladd Colston describes the role of mentors and how they support the mission to improve clinical outcomes.

Meet Our Merit Reviewer Mentors: Lisa Nelson

In this pair of videos, Lisa Nelson speaks about the merit review mentorship program and her role as a PCORI merit review mentor.

How are mentors selected?

Reviewers asked to join the mentor program demonstrate successful participation in each Merit Review cycle served. These experienced reviewers are recommended to serve as Mentors by meeting some of the following criteria.

  • The reviewer is highly responsive, collegial, and completes all review related activities in a timely manner.
  • The reviewer writes high quality reviews with appropriate comment and score alignment.
  • The reviewer is an active participant in panel discussion, clearly articulating the strengths and weaknesses of assigned applications.

For more information on our merit reviewer community, please visit our Reviewer FAQs page or contact reviewers@pcori.org.


Posted: October 10, 2018; Updated: August 26, 2019

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