Q: What advice do you have for the next generation of researchers?
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Explore This IssueDecember 2013
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A: Perseverance is probably the key. If you have a good idea, work hard at developing it, and if you are not too put off by some periodic rejection, then over the long run you have a high probability, if you are in a good environment like UAB, to be successful.
Q: What does this award mean to you?
A: I am very honored and humbled by the award. It’s really not about me, but it’s about the institution, the leadership, and the mentees I have had an opportunity to work with over the past 15 years at UAB.
ACR Distinguished Fellowship Program Director Award
Michael Pillinger, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Biochemistry, and Molecular Pharmacology and Program director, Rheumatology, NYU School of Medicine/NYU Langone Medical Center; Section Chief, Rheumatology, New York Harbor Health Care System, New York Campus; Department of Veterans Affairs.
Background: Dr. Pillinger was born in New York City, graduated from Harvard University, and then returned to Manhattan for medical school, residency, and a fellowship before taking a faculty position at NYU in 1992. His research has focused on innate immunity and signal transduction in cells involved in arthritis. More recently, he has studied gout and the effects of gout and hyperuricemia on cardiovascular and other comorbidities. He has served as NYU Fellowship Program Director since 2001, during which time eight of his fellows have received the ACR Distinguished Fellow Award. A past winner of the ACR Clinician Scholar Educator Award, he has served the College in various leadership roles. He recently completed his term as chair of the Rheumatology Research Foundation Study Section B for educational grants.
Q: What is the value of mentoring?
A: Mentoring is a complex process, and its value is different in every relationship. But, some of the most important parts of mentoring are at the beginning of a relationship, when you primarily are a teacher and role model.
You want to help people get their career started, and you want make them think that the career they want is possible. As the mentoring relationship moves on, you go from being more of a teacher to a guide, and, ultimately, to a facilitator. A successful mentor leads their mentees to independence. After that, you become friends and colleagues, if you’re lucky.