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March Into Mentorship

Lianne G Singer, MD, FRCPC
Toronto General Hospital

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lianne singerMarch in Toronto—the snow melts (although we've barely seen any this winter), the Maple Leafs' hockey team playoff hopes sink deeper into oblivion, and our team prepares for the ISHLT meeting in Prague. The ISHLT is a society that strives to make new members feel welcome. In my case, this meant assuming a leadership position within the Pulmonary Scientific Council only a few years into my first faculty position. What better way to pay it forward than to enlist as a society mentor?

Two years ago in Chicago, it was a pleasant surprise to meet another transplant pulmonologist who does patient-centered outcomes research. We had a great initial meeting sharing our backgrounds - some similarities (training at USCF, skiing, having a father whose last name is Singer - not the same one) and some differences (he's an ace surfer, me - not so much) - and strikingly compatible research interests.

Like many more experienced faculty, I have lots of data and not enough time. We discussed ways to collaborate in research, combining my data and experience with Jon's great ideas and enthusiasm. lianne and friendJon eagerly agreed to participate in the Quality of Life Workforce and our QUILT (Quality of Life in Lung Transplantation) study, and offered a computer program available to UCSF researchers to collect the data for this study. I am happy to serve as an advisor on Jon's NIH Career Development Award proposal.

Jon and I have met or emailed several times over the past couple of years, and it's really refreshing to take a break from all the presentations at the ISHLT meeting to chat about clinical problems, research ideas, and life outside of work. Not every mentor will be paired with a mentee who has the same name and does the same sort of research and clinical work as they do. However, every mentor will benefit from the exchange of ideas, the opportunity to share their experience and advice, and the knowledge that they are helping to build the future of our Society.

Disclosure Statement:
The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Pictured at right: the author, with her friend, pondering new research ideas in lung transplantation.