PhD Clinical Careers
Slides from “PhD Careers in a Clinical Setting”
Invited Speaker on March 8, 2007:
Cynthia Morton, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology and Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School; Editor of The American Journal of Human Genetics.
A PhD in a Clinical Setting
- Two member boards of the ABMS certify PhDs: Radiology and Medical Genetics
- ABMG: 2 yrs of fellowship training in an accredited program leading to certification in Clinical Biochemical Genetics, Clinical Cytogenetics and Clinical Molecular Genetics
- More regular hours but less flexible, and depends upon the expectations of the institution (academic vs. less academic)
- Commercial company jobs are also available
- Salary: expect more in a company than in an academic setting, but comes with less freedom
- The clinical environment is still a “turf” issue with MD’s
Guidelines to Success in Academia
- Be happy, enthusiastic.
- Act happy, not tired or overworked.
- Don’t ask for much.
- Develop a focus of expertise.
- Don’t over-rely on teaching.
- Don’t ever say: “I have not time” or “I’m working too hard.”
- Protect yourself from very low yield activities: routine meetings, unneeded paperwork, conferences.
- Be zealous about your field.
- Bring in money to pay part of your salary.
- Develop a community following.
- See your boss regularly: not to complain, not to ask for things, provide answers rather than problems.
- Acquire and nurture a mentor.
- All teaching should be high quality; never consider any audience unimportant.
- Don’t burn bridges; leave gracefully.
- Be alert to “turf” issues; foresee problems.
- Keep in mind the big picture.
- Nurture your national relationships.
Especially for Women:
- There’s GOOD News and Hard News!!
The GOOD News
- A career as a scientist is a privileged life.
- Your brain will be happy, and you will be happy.
- Your family will be happy because you are happy.
- You will have a life with freedoms others don’t have in the workplace—freedom to think and explore the unknown and a flexible schedule.
- You will have worldwide friendships and opportunities to travel.
- You can have your cake and eat it too!
The Hard News
- Most male scientists have wives who work less than full time.
- Progress in science will not wait for you.
- Maternity leave is not a vacation.
- You can’t have it both ways.
- NIH Study Sections do not care whether the applicant is a female, was on maternity leave or had a disproportionate number of female students/post-docs who took maternity leave or left the lab following the birth of a child.
- Buy whatever services you can afford to make your life easier: cleaning service, prepared meals, babysitting…
- Don’t make it harder for other women.
- Accept that part-time is not possible.
- Find a partner who respects and appreciates your need for fulfillment outside of the home.
- Read “I Don’t Know How She Does It” by Allison Pearson.
- Sleep in eternity….