July 5th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Read this while standing

By Carl Gustafson

“What you are doing, right now, is killing you!” Nilofer Merchant scanned a suddenly breathless crowd with a faux menace at her 2013 TED talk. The audience breathlessly awaited her answer: what could possibly be killing us so menacingly and discretely that we would simply sit here and allow it?

Well, I agree with her, so let me repeat it. What you are doing, right now, is killing you. And me.

We are sitting. And that is what is killing us. I often sit for 8-10 hours every day: reading papers, documenting results, in meetings, culturing cells, you name it – I am sitting down. Then I go home, and…I sit down because I am thoroughly exhausted from [...]

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May 13th, 2015 · 2 Comments

Believe it or not...

By Andrew M. Harrsion

By Dr. Jim Maher

How can Mayo Clinic best honor the axis of diversity that might be called "faith," "belief," "unbelief," or "religion" and what leadership can be shown within Mayo Clinic's academic environment (the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine)? These were some of the questions that motivated a fascinating lunch session on May 11, 2015, organized by the College of Medicine Office for Diversity, and featuring a delightful panel representing a sampling of four faith traditions different from the nominal Christianity that typified 78% of Americans in 2010. The premise of the discussion ("Religious Diversity in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine: Positive Expression, Ongoing Challenges") was that global faith traditions, including agnosticism and atheism, are richly diverse, and the [...]

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March 19th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Becoming a Question Artist

By Carl Gustafson

“In re mathematica ars proponendi quaestionem pluris facienda est quam solvendi.” – Georg Cantor

Just when you thought Latin was a dead language…

If I were to ask you a question, how would you answer it? …Did you just tell yourself, “well, Self, that depends on the type of question!”? Good. You’re awake! Let’s be more specific.

Here is the question: What did Georg Cantor just say to the world?

Since I assume that you already answered this question, how exactly did you go about answering it? There are possibly thousands or millions of strategies by which to conquer translation and interpretation of Georg’s statement…Did you phone a friend who took Latin in [...]

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February 26th, 2015 · 3 Comments

The Banality of “That’s Nice”

By Andrew M. Harrsion

By Nora E. King

I sat in Mayo Clinic’s St. Marys Hospital cafeteria with my clinical team, in that awkward way medical students know too well: the attending physician (“consultant” at Mayo Clinic) buys you a cup of coffee and then proceeds to gossip with his buddies for the next 15 minutes. It’s never clear whether you should chuckle along with the stories or pretend to not listen, absorbed in your notes on the patient list.

Unusually, the cafeteria was filled with music. “What’s that noise?” someone said. We glanced around and noticed a poster with sepia photos of famous Black Americans. “Oh, it’s Black History Month,” his colleague replied, “that’s nice. Let’s get out of here, the music [...]

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January 29th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Training in Research and Parenthood

By Clara Castillejobecerra

Perhaps you are contemplating becoming a parent in the future. If so, you may be wondering how becoming a parent will affect your career, how you will handle your responsibilities as a researcher and parent, or how you will survive these tough years in graduate school with the addition of children. To answer some of these questions, this blog will offer different perspectives and advice from students who have made the decision to become both scientist and parents.

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Fan-Chi Hsu, Ph.D. received her doctoral degree from the immunologyfan-chi track in November 2014. She and her husband, Chien-Chang Chen, a 5th year pre-doctoral student in the immunology [...]

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January 4th, 2015 · Leave a Comment

Avoiding scientific nostalgia

By Carl Gustafson

Hello diversity blog readers and welcome to 2015! Thanks for sticking with us; we hope you’re as excited about the future of the blog as we are. If not, keep reading. Maybe someday we'll serve up the post you've been waiting for.

Science moves pretty fast [citation needed]. In fact, it’s very difficult to quantify the rate of progress of science (umm, units?), and it seems that experts disagree on how to actually do this. Regardless, it appears that global scientific research output (units?) increases at a rate of 8-9% per year. Compare this to the rate of increase in global computer processing power. “Moore’s law” (not really a law…and yes, I got this off Wikipedia, don’t judge) observes that the [...]

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December 18th, 2014 · 1 Comment

Should dual degree training exist?

By Andrew M. Harrsion

By Andrew M. Harrison

No, I will not be writing about the illustrious EdD-JD. However, please note these are both largely regarded as “professional” doctoral degrees in the US. Although still less relevant in the US, you should know the difference, as most of the rest of the world draws a clear distinction between a research doctorate and a “first professional degree”.

As data interferes with effecting social changes (for better or worse), and blogs are by nature not designed to be lengthy, let’s get this part out of the way first and fast. More Commentaries on the subject of MD-PhD training have been published in the academic literature than I care to discuss. The most comprehensive [...]

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December 8th, 2014 · 1 Comment

Adapting to Rochester

By Annyoceli Santiago

By Annyoceli Santiago

I remember when I was accepted into the Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) at Mayo Clinic two years ago. I was extremely excited about moving to the United States to do research. When I told my friends and professors that I had been accepted to PREP, most of them said “…but there’s nothing in Rochester!”. It really didn’t take away my enthusiasm because I was mostly thinking about the research… And after all, no distractions were great because I could focus on work. After my first week, I already had a group of friends and was introduced to most people in the IMSD (Initiative for Maximizing Student Development) program. I was amazed by how culturally diverse [...]

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