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Welcome to The Medicine Mentors interview series. Our mission is to create a platform for top physician mentors to share key insights, traits and best practices based on their experiences to guide medical students and residents.

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Dec 29, 2020

Dr. John R. Perfect is James B. Duke Professor of Medicine and Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC; Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center; Faculty member in Duke University Program in Genetics; and Director, Duke University Mycology Interdisciplinary Research Unit. His research interests focus around several aspects of medical mycology where he is currently investigating antifungal agents in animal models of candida and cryptococcal infections and is PI of a NIH-sponsored interdisciplinary antifungal drug program project. He is the author of more than 600 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, books and reviews. Dr. Perfect has received the Duke University Teacher of the Year Award in 1999 and has received The Littman Award, The Rhoda Benham Award and the Lucille George Award.

Dr. John Perfect examines some of the real, practical challenges of navigating a career in medicine. It’s not easy to get through medical school, and it can be even harder to discover where you want to go in your practice. In making these tough decisions, Dr. Perfect discusses the importance of asking ourselves critical questions about our desires, our skill sets, and what makes us happy. He then outlines three primary factors for success in the field: We need passion to smooth out the inevitable ups and downs that come with the territory; we need commitment to stick through the doubts and difficult moments; and we need a supportive network of family, colleagues, and mentors to amplify our abilities and ambitions. Above all, he encourages us not to be afraid to chase our dreams.

Pearls of Wisdom:

1. In committing to medicine, we ask ourselves critical questions: First, do we really have the desire to help people? Second, what is our skillset? What makes us happy?
2. There are three main factors to success. One is passion. The second is commitment. The third is made up of the people around us who amplify our abilities and desires.
3.  If we seek out a mentor, the process of navigating the field of medicine will be much easier. However, we need to come prepared with our own investment as mentees.
4. Don’t fear failure, and don’t be afraid to go after your dreams and throw yourself in.