September 23rd, 2016
By: Domenic Fraboni
What does it mean to MERG? Does it mean to change lanes when you’re driving on a busy highway? Maybe you can find a place where two trickling streams MERG together into a large flowing river? I would say that this last example is getting closer, figuratively, to the meaning of MERG that I am thinking of. At Mayo Clinic, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) has coined the term MERG, or Mayo “Employee” Resource Group (I put quotes around employee because these groups are, in fact, not only for employees), to refer to any of the more than 20 employee-run groups centered around various facets of diversity. In this post, I implore all Mayo graduate and postgraduate students to get involved [...]
September 12th, 2016
By Domenic F. Fraboni and Andrew M. Harrison
There I was (DFF). Standing in front of the crowd that had gathered at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine's Annual Diversity Welcome Reception on Wednesday, September 07, 2016. I may have been one of a handful of people in that room that had never lived outside of Minnesota. A good number of the individuals in the room had even lived or grown up outside the country. I also don’t have what I call great surface diversity. This is what most individuals may think of when they think of diversity: race, ethnicity, and culture (and I would say rightfully so as it is a significant component of diversity). By that standard, I represent the [...]
September 2nd, 2016
By: James Lee
This is a happy story. A boy named Joey goes to his local primary care physician, Dr. Weber, with the desire to talk about his gender. Over the course of his freshman year in high school, he began to feel more uncomfortable in his skin. The way that society treated him as a young man weighed him down constantly. He spent hours every week on the internet in incognito mode, trying to Google how he felt and being overwhelmed with online resources. He just needed one trustworthy, educated friend to give him counsel. So he waited for his annual [...]
August 18th, 2016
By Domenic F. Fraboni
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a group of people that excluded no one, yet accepted everyone? A community that celebrated not only success, but also the amount of effort and courage that someone put into their attempt? A community that allows failure, takes those challenges head on, and emerges stronger and more apt for success because of that failure? Well, I think I have found that community. In fact, the whole Mayo Clinic Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, joined by more trainees from Mayo Graduate School (MGS), have incorporated themselves into the Rochester Flyers Special Olympic community . They have put blood, sweat, and tears (and lots of laughs and smiles) into a season [...]
July 14th, 2016
I haven’t written much lately. Even though it takes more than two hands to count the number of times I have sat down with an idea for a blog or article in the last year, and written a couple sentences, none of those ideas have hatched into anything coherent enough to be worth sharing. But I’ve been trying! Really hard. Writing stories on topics I've been reading about or opinions that have precipitated in my mind is quite cathartic. Evidently I am also pretentious enough to think that someone else might care that I have an opinion. But, lately when I've tried to collect my insoluble thought products [...]
May 19th, 2016
By: Domenic Fraboni
A core principle in pharmacology is the dosage/response curve. Pharmacologists endlessly test drugs to discover the effective dose, toxic dose, therapeutic index, and other important dosages that they can use with patients. The difficulty is, not everyone responds to these drugs in the same way. What may be an effective dose for one individual could cause more severe adverse reactions in another individual and possibly have no effect at all in a third patient. Furthermore, some patients may have other unrelated conditions that could affect drug absorption, distribution, metabolism or elimination. These four areas could also be affected by other drug-drug interactions. One drug the patient is already taking could slow down the metabolism of a new drug, [...]
May 6th, 2016
By Domenic F. Fraboni
“Where’s the duct tape?!” Who has my duct tape?!” “Can someone loan me a roll to make a corner chair for this patient with cerebral palsy?” These are phrases you would likely never even think of hearing in a United States hospital. However, the situation in Honduras is quite different. A group of nine Mayo physical therapy students, led by their fearless leader Dr. Nathan Hellyer, spent their spring [...]
April 17th, 2016
By: Domenic Fraboni and Crystal Mendoza
April 13th was Equal Pay Day. At a panel discussion, Women in Science and Medicine: Moving Toward Equity in Career and Professional Development sponsored by the Office for Diversity, we learned that Equal Pay Day represents the day that women needed to work until in 2016 (added to their 2015 salary) to earn what their male counterparts earned during the 2015 calendar year. This discussion, led by a panel of Mayo physician and scientists, was tackling this exact issue and its prominence in the medial and science fields.
Guest moderator, Sharonne Hayes, M.D., began the discussion by outlining concerning statistics that represent the current inequality in medical career advancement between sexes. To begin, [...]
April 15th, 2016
By Domenic F. Fraboni
The student physical therapists (SPT’s) are at it again! They took their mark, got set, and have hit the ground sprinting into the track and field season with the Rochester Flyers Special Olympic track team. This Monday, April 11th, a group of former track and field athletes and other physical therapy students began the grind to coach the Flyers to a championship in the state games in late June. After a [...]
March 3rd, 2016
By Andrew M. Harrison
Is racism the result of one of the basic human emotions, social disorder, both, or neither? Is this question even valid? From contemporary American psychologists such as Paul Ekman and Robert Plutchik, I can stretch an argument racism is derived from some basic human emotion and thus a sort of fundamental human right. From the ancient Analects of Confucius, I can argue “the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name” and thus racism is the result of some improperly balanced social construct.
On Wednesday, February 10, 2016, Mayo Clinic’s Office for Diversity (Mayo Clinic College of Medicine) hosted its 5th Diversity Discussion at Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus in Minnesota: “Social Justice: [...]
February 11th, 2016
By: Domenic Fraboni
It’s a frigid February afternoon. I guess it really wasn’t that bad by Minnesota standards. However, things were complicated by a brisk wind and the fact that the nine of us were all in what you would wear on your average beach day. Somehow we found ourselves standing at the edge of a gaping hole cut in the middle of a frozen lake. Behind us, we heard the announcer over the loud speaker say it was our turn to jump. We promptly stepped up, counted to three, squeezed each other’s hands hard, and took a plunge. The shock was immediate. Instantly the nine of us found ourselves scrambling, clambering, and clawing (well, as fast as we could without straining [...]
January 27th, 2016
By: Thomas Mork
“What do you know about him?” inquired my clinical instructor. I was on my first rotation as a student at the University of Utah and, using only two hands, was still able to count the number of patients I had seen. I commenced listing my patient’s home environment, his physical capabilities, etc. My clinical instructor cut me off. “That’s great, Tom, but what do you know about him?” I pondered the question for a moment.
“Well, he was a high school teacher.” I replied, questioningly. My clinical instructor smiled. “That’s it”, he said. And he made my goal for the next four weeks to learn something about the lives of my patients.
By the [...]
December 17th, 2015
By: Robin Willenbring
Being human is hard sometimes.
Now, to add to that, many of us reading this particular blog post, are human scientists or in the medical field. There have been too many times to count that each of us has questioned our life’s choice, our sanity and thought about being anything else. What keeps us going? That is the age old question, isn’t it? For each the answer is different. However, there is one defining feature, our passion. Whether it’s a passion for developing technologies, teaching the next generation, caring for the sick, running a company, thinking critically, or viruses; each is a passion. Throughout our careers, we find ways to share this passion, through our publications, [...]
December 3rd, 2015
By Domenic Fraboni
The “It’s on US” campaign is a White House based movement that aims to increase awareness of sexual assault and sexual assault prevention. I learned about the “It’s on US” campaign in January of last year when the NCAA became an official partner of the campaign. As a member of the Division III Student Athlete Advisory Committee (DIII SAAC) I was tasked with bringing the campaign back to my respective conferences and campuses. The “It’s on US” mission immediately resonated with me. As a college football student-athlete I often felt subject to some unfair stereotypes of male student-athletes, specifically football athletes, and how they treated women. Then I faced the real facts. During their collegiate experience, one in [...]
November 22nd, 2015
By Crystal A. Mendoza and Andrew M. Harrison
Humanitarianism medicine stands apart from both academic and non-academic medicine. Although not mutually exclusive, humanitarianism medicine is one component of the larger field of humanitarianism: a vast conceptual construct of community that transcends individual civilizations and societies across time. On November 18, 2015, the Mayo Clinic Dolores Jean Lavins Center for Humanities hosted Dr. James J. Orbinski, 1999 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, for its inaugural Rewoldt Nobel Laureate Lecture.
Dr. Orbinski, physician, humanitarian leader, and emeritus President of the International Council of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), gave two lectures in Rochester, MN: “Humanitarianism In War: Médecins Sans Frontières And Beyond” and “Equity And Global Health — An [...]
November 19th, 2015
Women in Science and Engineering Research (WiSER) has one mission: To support the success of women in research by providing opportunities for career development, networking with women leaders, identifying strong mentors, and developing a meaningful community for women in biomedical research at Mayo Clinic. They are off to a great start!
The group, founded by Kay Pepin and Mekala Raman, began with one key observation: women within Mayo Graduate School make up over half of the students (62%), both PhD and MD/PhD, but that number is not reflected in the Research Fellow population where men make up 62%. The gender disparity is even more striking for faculty, where women comprise only 21% of full faculty. These startling statistics are not unheard of for most [...]
November 5th, 2015
By: Thomas Mork, SPT
What do you love about your profession? Is it seeing patients smile? Is it putting on your detective cap to figure out a disease? Or is it the sheer variety of the cases that you see every day? The fact is, if we go to work for one of these reasons, or one I haven’t mentioned, we are extremely fortunate; we are part of an exclusive club that enjoys our job. We are the ones that think about our patients as we make dinner, or research best practice for some light, nighttime reading. But our vocation comes with responsibility to ourselves and our colleagues. It is our duty to protect and advance our profession and further our [...]
October 21st, 2015
Written by Crystal Mendoza and Carl Gustafson
The Biomedical Engineering and Physiology (BMEP) students are going global! In 2009, a few students got together and formed the Initiative for Medical Equipment Sustainability (IMES) to address issues of transferring medical technology to developing countries, and making those technologies sustainable. Since then, the program has grown to become part of the local Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), and has received funding and mentorship support from the Program in Underserved Global Health (PUGH).
September 24th, 2015
By Domenic Fraboni
At times, diversity can be a difficult area to be “successful” in. This can be especially true when trying to represent all the different aspects of diversity in a specific committee, staff, team, or any other group. The complexity of this topic webs out even further when including those non-superficial definitions of diversity: ethnicity, religion, orientation, social, family type, education, and the list could continue on. It may seem to be an obvious statement, but if we have diversity of any sort, we will only be able to better understand, collaborate upon, and ultimately solve the issues that face us every day. With this being said, why do so many organizations fall short when it comes to fully [...]
September 17th, 2015
By Luz Milbeth Cumba-García, MS
At the age of 16, I was admitted to the Universidad Metropolitana’s early admission program in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to study Cellular and Molecular Biology. From my early days as a college student, I had the opportunity to do summer internships abroad, conduct research in different laboratories in Puerto Rico, and attend countless national and international conferences. These experiences have led to great adventures in different countries where I not only learned about their culture, but also about their approach to research and science in general.
My first research experience abroad was in 2010 when I investigated the response of T lymphocytes in a model of collagen-induced arthritis in [...]