Nurturing Excellence through Mentorship with UCSF OHNS' Dr. VyVy Young

January 31, 2024
VyVy Young, MD

During National Mentoring Month, the spotlight shines on VyVy Young, MD, the dedicated Director of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Laryngology Fellowship and a prominent figure in otolaryngology. With an educational journey that took her from Pittsburgh for fellowship training to her impactful role at UCSF Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (UCSF OHNS), Dr. Young's story underscores the pivotal role of mentorship in her professional trajectory and its broader impact within the department.

Excelling not only as a clinician but also in leadership roles, Dr. young expresses her gratitude for the mentorship that has shaped her career. "I've been incredibly fortunate throughout my faculty career," she shares, having served as Associate Program Director for the Otolaryngology Residency and faculty for the Laryngology Fellowship since joining UCSF five years ago.

Reflecting on her mentors' influence, Dr. Young acknowledges their crucial role in guiding her choices, from encouraging fellowship training to establishing a national presence. "There is no way I would be where I am today without my mentors," she shares. Even in mid-career, mentors provided unwavering support and suggested opportunities that aligned with her interests. Dr. Young's journey stands as a testament to the enduring impact of mentorship on professional growth and success.

Highlighting the diversity of mentor-mentee relationships, Dr. Young emphasizes that there's no one-size-fits-all approach. "Some may have a big impact on you, and some will not. The key is that all mentoring experiences have value," she notes. To optimize these relationships, open communication and goal identification are essential. Dr. Young encourages individuals to actively participate in the mentoring process, making it a mutually beneficial experience.

Dr. Young cherishes UCSF's collaborative and innovative culture, crediting mentorship for perpetuating this mindset across all levels of the medical hierarchy. In acknowledging the changing landscape of health care, she voices concern about the shift towards viewing it as shift work and the potential erosion of the doctor-patient relationship. Dr. Young believes mentorship is crucial in maintaining focus on the true purpose of medicine, stating, "Mentorship is a vital part of keeping us all focused on our True North – our why for why we decided to go into medicine in the first place. Mentorship can keep your focus properly aligned and can provide a safe space and listening ear when you need help in any big or small way."

Dr. Young's journey at UCSF OHNS, shaped by impactful mentorship, serves as a compelling example of the transformative power of mentorship in fostering excellence within health care and beyond.