EOH Mentoring Program Off to Strong Start
Chris Carlsten, MD, MPH
By Chris Carlsten, MD, MPH; Chair of the Early Career Faculty and Fellows Working Group in the Assembly on Environmental & Occupational Health
How time flies. I will never forget my first Assembly on Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) meeting, when I sat in the back of a crowded room in Orlando listening to the legends in the field let loose on their successes and concerns. That was in 2004. I’ve been to every one since and truly look forward to them. What I like the most is seeing the connections between newer members and “veterans” form and grow. Knowing that this was pivotal in my own development, I accepted the 2010 invitation of Mark D. Eisner, MD, chair of the Assembly at that time, to start a formal mentoring program within the EOH. Though still emerging, the program has been a hit thus far, with over a dozen mentor-mentee pairs established and more forming as the program gains traction upon its early success.
Kerri Johannson, MD
Besides the fun within the challenge of forming the program (with notable kudos to EOH’s Sandra M. Wells, PhD, for so much insight along the way), my greatest pleasure has been my own match with Kerri Johannson, MD, of the University of Calgary. As if a sign, Kerri contacted me for advice just weeks before the mentoring program was to be formally announced within EOH. I was thrilled, and flattered, that someone as talented as she would seek my perspective. Again, how time flies...Since establishing our match, we’ve met at last year’s Assembly meeting in Denver, had numerous productive e-mails, and I feel great to know that I can help sort out some of Kerri’s very reasonable questions about the “nitty gritty” of an early career in EOH. Realistically, sometimes it takes a relationship like this to allow the space for some basic, but critical, questions to be asked. The highlight for me so far came when Kerri e-mailed me at the onset of the ERS Annual Congress in Amsterdam in September, with some questions. Wow—we both happened to be there, allowing for a pleasant coffee break in person, where we caught up on her decision-making and plans.
The time is now! The EOH mentoring programs needs more mentors and mentees (some individuals function as both!) If you haven’t yet joined the mentoring program, please do so by visiting www.thoracic.org/assemblies/eoh/eoh-mentorship-program.php. It’s really easy, trust me! If you have already joined, keep it up. We all know how important these connections can and will be.