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    Leverage your knowledge and create a legacy

    Take the time to mentor students. Our specialty will benefit and thrive.


    SMFM efforts

    Our professional organizations have taken on some of this mentoring as well.

    In mid-March, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) held its third annual retreat for first-year fellows in MFM. (In the past, these have been held in the fall, but Superstorm Sandy necessitated postponement of last fall’s event to the spring.) These events are held at a retreat center outside New York City, a location chosen to allow as many fellows as possible to get there cheaply (that is, by driving).

    The retreats are free to all first-year fellows, thanks to support from the SMFM, the Pregnancy Foundation, and the Kenneth Gottesfeld-Charles Hohler Memorial Foundation (in the interest of full disclosure, I am the treasurer of this last group). In addition, this year’s retreat received some unrestricted educational grants from corporate sponsors.

    The retreats have three major goals. The first is to instill a group identity in the graduating class of fellows. Many of us think of the colleagues we began our careers with—our contemporaries as residents and fellows—as a sort of professional family. No doubt all of us share special bonds with those with whom we worked so intensely and closely in our early professional careers. So, an important goal for the retreats is to leverage that group identity among the community of fellows graduating in the same year, to provide both friendships and opportunities for professional collaboration over a lifetime. We include many team-building activities during the retreats to help the fellows get to know one another.

    The second goal is to jumpstart the fellows’ knowledge about professional life, especially how to navigate and fully participate in professional societies. The team-building exercises and discussions with the faculty also help them understand how to build their professional identities within their institutions.

    Finally, by bringing in a large group of prominent faculty members and creating multiple opportunities for informal interaction, we give the fellows “face time” with leaders in the field and (we hope) inspire them to follow similar career paths.

    These are ambitious goals, and all of us who attend believe it is well worth a couple of days away from home to leverage ourselves and help these young colleagues.


    Joshua A. Copel, MD
    DR. COPEL is Professor, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Director of ...


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