Published May 5, 2011
Megan Murray, a fifth-year student in the MD-PhD Program, has been invited to attend the Early Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges.
The seminar will be held July 9-12 at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C.
The selection process for the seminar is highly competitive, and Murray is one of only 14 MD/PhD students from around the country invited this year.
The goal of the program is to give attendees an overview of the knowledge and skills they will need to pursue leadership roles in academic medicine. In addition to attending presentations on relevant topics, such as strategic communication, participants will take part in small-group sessions where faculty from across the United States and Canada mentor them on career-building skills and CV development.
"I think that the MD/PhD program at UB does a fantastic job of preparing us to be physician-scientists, but the day-to-day reality of academic medicine is learned on the job," says Murray. "This seminar will allow me to get a glimpse into the nuts and bolts of what it means to be a female academic clinician."
Teaching is a primary interest of Murray, who is pursuing dual doctorate degrees in medicine and immunology. "While I think that physician-scientists have exciting and dynamic careers that make a difference in patients' lives, I also find teaching very exciting," she says. "I have been a teaching assistant, a private tutor and an exam-prep instructor, all of which have been incredibly rewarding. As an academic clinician, I will be in a position to teach medical and graduate students, residents and fellows and, most importantly, patients."
Murray explains that her interest in academic medicine began when she was a freshman in the UB Honors Program, during which time she was encouraged to conduct research and present her findings at poster competitions.
Her MD-PhD experience has also strongly supported her career goals. "My interest in academic medicine has been bolstered by many of the academic clinicians who teach and mentor me," she says.
In particular, she singles out Kelvin Lee, MD, a research professor of microbiology at UB, and professor and chair of the Department of Immunology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, in whose lab she is currently working.
"I think Dr. Lee is about the best example of a physician-scientist that I could hope to have," she says. "In addition to being a department chair, he is an attending physician and the principal investigator for a lab with six graduate students. To me, he is able to successfully bridge the gap between basic research and treatment of patients. The discoveries that we make in his lab will have a direct impact on the health of the myeloma patients whom he treats."