Q: What has been the most satisfying part of your research?
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Explore This IssueDecember 2010
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A: Mentoring young researchers, including fellows and students, in the laboratory and seeing them succeed. Their success is my success. They are the ones really in the lab innovating. It’s that and seeing people with rheumatic diseases benefit from the therapies.
Q: What advice do you have for the next generation of researchers?
A: You have to decide what you want to do with your career, identify your goals, and then persist. Academic research is like running a double marathon. It is all too easy to become dissuaded or to let yourself get derailed. Focus and persistence are critical to successfully run an academic career.
ACR REF Excellence in Investigative Mentoring
Michael H. Weisman, MD
Director, Division of Rheumatology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles; Professor of Medicine in Residence at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA); Professor Emeritus, University of California at San Diego (UCSD).
Background: Dr. Weisman, who has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and five books, has considered mentoring an important piece of practicing medicine since his medical school days at the University of Chicago. As he learned from those who came before him, he says, he discovered the value of collaboration and the passing of knowledge from one generation of physician to the next. He notes that he still talks to his first mentors, whether it’s his first chief of medicine or colleagues from his residency in internal medicine and rheumatology training at UCSD or from his military service as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve at Camp Pendleton outside San Diego.
His current research focus is environmental and genetic risk for susceptibility and severity of chronic rheumatic diseases and, while that interest and his status as an investigator for the National Institutes of Health keeps him busy, he still finds time to work with younger physicians and the ACR, because he believes that continuum of giving back serves both himself and the field of rheumatology. Speaking of continuums, Dr. Weisman is one of the few nationally recognized physicians who can say he was born at the hospital where he now works, having been delivered at the then-Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in the City of Angels.
Q: What does being a mentor represent to you?
A: You can tell whether somebody’s paying attention and that’s important. Their success becomes important to you. Their growth, their development, their success, their independence—all of those things become important to you.