Mentor: Dana Thompson, MD, MS, is division head of pediatric otolaryngology at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and professor of otolaryngology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
Explore This IssueJuly 2018
What is an example of a “little thing” in your relationship with your mentor that has made a lasting impact on you?
JL: Dana became the division head at Lurie after I completed my pediatric otolaryngology rotation during residency, so, despite having trained at Northwestern, my first interaction with her was during my fellowship interview. I’m not sure if she remembers this or not, but during my interview she asked me, “Why do you want to come here for fellowship?” I looked at her and told her, “I don’t. I want to work here.”
I proceeded to explain that I wanted to go elsewhere for fellowship training and to bring a new skill set back with me as faculty. She set down her pen, sat back in her chair, and said, “Okay, what would you bring here as faculty?” I proceeded to tell her what skill set I thought I would add to the division. In hindsight, my proposed skill set was a little naïve, but Dana took the opportunity during that interview to mentor me for the first time. Her advice resonated with me and led me to shift my focus during fellowship and beyond.
DT: Dr. Lavin is an exceptional physician with a strong sense of internal motivation and professional will, combined with strong analytical skills. She demonstrated this even as a resident here at Northwestern. I had matriculated as the division chief of otolaryngology when she was a PGY-4 resident in our training program and after she decided to pursue pediatric otolaryngology. One of the first opportunities for me to interact with her was during her interview for our fellowship program. I was told by others that she “wanted a position” in our fellowship. I specifically remember mentoring her during her interview for fellowship to seek a training experience that would uniquely train her to fill a gap in our division if her desire was to join our team.
While I did not want to influence a direction, I did encourage her to find an area and develop a skill that matched her own perceptions of her skills, strengths, and passion. We were thrilled she chose to seek fellowship training at D.C. National Children’s Hospital, where she was mentored by Rahul Shah, MD, and developed an interest in quality and safety, which was truly a unique contribution and [filled a] gap in our diverse faculty skill set.