FAER  |   March 2019
FAER … and Physician Mentorship
Author Affiliations
  • James C. Eisenach, M.D.
    President and CEO, FAER
Article Information
Education / CPD / Pain Medicine / FAER
FAER   |   March 2019
FAER … and Physician Mentorship
ASA Monitor 3 2019, Vol.83, 46-47.
ASA Monitor 3 2019, Vol.83, 46-47.
Many factors play into a physician-scientist’s success, but perhaps most critical is the influence of a mentor or, more commonly, a team of mentors. Our mentors offer invaluable guidance and support that often leads to the difference between success and failure. Perhaps more important, mentors offer a type of candor and connection that help us determine or evaluate the type of physician-scientist we want to become.
I owe my own career and success in the research of translational science of pain and its treatment to my mentor, Tony Yaksh, Ph.D. Although I had been exposed to science as a chemistry graduate student at Caltech, 34 years ago I was a resident at Mayo Clinic and trying to decide where to move for a career in private practice. Early one Wednesday morning, I heard Tony, a basic scientist, give a talk about pain processing in the spinal cord and how this might influence clinical care directly or lead to development of novel non-opioid analgesics. Something clicked at that lecture that changed my career path, but more important than the lecture was his immediate openness and enthusiasm to mentor a very junior trainee. We’ve had a grant together for over 25 years, and I am an academic physician as a result of that lecture and a successful researcher as a result of Tony’s mentorship.
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