Arch G. Mainous III, Ph.D., the chair of the PHHP department of health services research, management and policy and the Florida Blue endowed chair of health administration, received the Distinguished Mentor Award from the North American Primary Care Research Group at a ceremony held Nov. 15 during the group’s annual meeting in Colorado Springs.
The award recognizes outstanding mentorship of a North American Primary Care Research Group member over the course of his or her career. Mainous was nominated by Robert Post, M.D., who started working with Mainous when both were at the Medical University of South Carolina. Mainous provided research mentorship to Post as part of MUSC’s department of family medicine faculty development program and continues to offer advice.
Mainous was always available to talk, taking time to hash out questions on the whiteboard in his office, said Post, now the research director for the family medicine residency program and the chair of family medicine at Virtua Health in Voorhees, N.J.
“He helps to mold your ideas into something novel and worthwhile,” Post said. “He definitely saved me a lot of time not chasing down the rabbit hole of a project that really has no impact in the end. He taught me how to do research the right way: no shortcuts, and to keep in mind the end goal of advancing knowledge.”
Mainous has mentored a broad range of students, including high school students from minority groups, undergraduates, medical students and graduate students. He has also mentored junior faculty members at his own institution as well as at other universities.
“It is very gratifying to see folks develop and become confident in their ability to conceptualize research questions and turn them into studies,” Mainous said. “I especially like the look on their face when they get their first publication and the anticipation of showing it to their parents.”
In his own research, Mainous has focused on improving health care delivery through better disease detection and determining the appropriate treatment for a particular patient. He is the author of more than 300 peer-reviewed articles and his work has been supported by agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is the deputy editor of the journal Family Medicine and an editorial board member for BMJ Open. Mainous serves as the American Board of Family Medicine’s Lewis Sigmon Visiting Senior Scholar for 2016 and received the 2016 Innovative Program Award from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.
“If you look back over his record, you’ll see he has been very prolific, with hundreds of publications and millions of dollars in grants,” Post said of Mainous. “And if you look at the people he has mentored, they have also been pretty prolific. He has spread his wealth of knowledge on to other people so that they can be successful researchers themselves.”