So I had my interview at the NIH yesterday and even though I didn't leave with a fellowship per se', I DID leave with so much more!!! First, I have added another mentor to my short list of mentors. And what that means in VERY explicit terms is that I have someone who knows my age and GREATLY supports my MD/PhD goals too! In fact, I didn't mention anything about MD/PhD at all initially but towards the end of our meeting he stopped me mid sentence and said the following: "I really think you should consider the MD/PhD program given what your goals are". And my mouth literally dropped to the floor, LOL!! I usually make it a habit to be upfront about what I'm planning to pursue, but the older I get, the less support I have for going back to school, much less med school via an MD/PhD program. And the fact that the last person that poo-pooed my idea was a Black woman Scientist, really makes me hesitant about talking about anything other than earning an MD.
So of course when he mentioned that, our conversation went on another 15 or so minutes with me fessing up to my ultimate goals and seeing a smile so wide come across his face I thought he'd wear a permanent smile for the rest of his life. And like so many of the folks I've met at the NIH over the years, he's very committed to not only training the next generation of Physician-Scientists, but in ensuring some of those are Black folks too. And THAT makes a HUGE difference to me.
And here's a video that pretty much sums up how I felt leaving my meeting yesterday where I was so excited, that I left my purse AND iPAd, LOL!!!!
Now I have a list of about 5 people, 3 of them minority, that I need to follow up with about securing a predoctoral fellowship for a start date of ~ 2013. And as my new mentor/future PhD committee member Dr.B mentioned, I need to make sure that I spend the next 2 years building a foundation for a project that I can eventually complete as my dissertation research. And having a solid project along with financial support from the NIH for an MD/PhD program should in combo with my overall application package, make me a pretty competitive applicant for someones MD/PhD programs.
Speaking of PhD programs, I'm still enjoying my Bioinformatics programming course, but I've now decided with about 95% certainty to study the more broader field of Medical Informatics instead. First, this will allow me to leverage my extensive exposure in Pathology since 75% of a medical record is made of up of labs/pathology reports. Second, there's a strong future for folks trained in how to process, analyze, and apply information contained in medical records into data which can be used to improve patient care. And third, I realized that because my goal is medical school, Bioinformatics in and of itself, just isn't "clinical" enough for me, otherwise I'd be happy to just get a PhD in that and go on with life.
Now at this time, I'd like to give a public shout to a long time reader of my blog who is also a nontrad woman of color with plans to become an MD. And like so many of the encouraging messages I get from my readers, this message was soooooo right on time! So a HUGE thank you to 3DMOM, and please get in touch with me when you're preparing for your MCATS!!!
Finally, I want to end this post with the following message. No matter who you are or where you are in your life, there's ALWAYS going to be people who WILL support whatever goal you have in life, ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS REACH OUT TO THEM!! Now this may require some "cold calls/emails" and you won't always receive a response back. But you MUST keep trying because I'm a strong believer that your destiny really is depended on your words, but more importantly your ACTIONS!!! So get to it!!!!