Sometimes it takes someone else’s perspective to clear your own. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed bringing our magazine together. It’s a privilege. The topics are important, and hopefully our stories affect even more than our readers by complementing their medical education. I have the opportunity to work with great editorial advisers and strong writers.
But even this job can become routine, governed by production schedules and copy flow cycles. After more than 60 issues, many topics and themes begin to run together for me. Among the spreadsheets, metrics and budgets, the purpose of our work can become clouded.
While reading Dr. Joshua Gaines’s story—which begins on page 14—I was struck by his honest description of how he was shoved off the prescribed pathway of medical training and forced to examine his fundamental purpose.
Walking us through the clinical diagnosis and course of treatment for his disease, Joshua also describes the cascade of his own fears and the eventual evolution of his perspective, shifting from the “must-do” list of medical training to recognizing that he had to find his own meaning in life.
Pacing in my office, I read and re-read Joshua’s article. His “hope” that all of the education and training—all the effort he had put in, all of the opportunities he had been given, everything he had overcome to become a physician—would benefit society, is also a frank admission of a deep-seated fear we may all come to share: Will my contribution matter? Or maybe it’s a call to action on a personal level: We have to find what truly matters most to each of us, and make the best contribution that we can.
I’ve been thinking a lot about his message in the past few weeks, and I hope you will also find inspiration in Joshua’s article.
As I mentioned, in my job I get to work with a number of great writers and thoughtful advisers. I count Dr. Kate Mier, our previous student editor, as both. Her feature on the barriers to economic diversity in medical school begins on page 18. For a quick look at related trends, see Paul Wynn’s item in our H&P section, beginning on page 4. Let us know what you think of this month’s articles by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.