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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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Sep 29, 2023

Richard Francis Riedel, M.D., is the Program Director for the Duke Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program and Associate Professor of Medical Oncology at Duke University Medical Center where he also serves as an Associate Director for Clinical and Translational Research for the Duke Sarcoma Program. An internationally renowned sarcoma expert, Dr. Riedel has a clinical and research interest in identifying novel therapeutics for patients with soft tissue and bone sarcoma. He is active in many national bodies including the Sarcoma Alliance for Research through Collaboration and has taken an active role in developing the NCCN guideline committees for sarcoma.

“Choosing a mentor is probably the most important decision you’ll make during fellowship. In the sense that your mentor will then become a peer, an advocate, and someone who opens doors for you.” Having guided hundreds of trainees, Dr. Richard Riedel joins us in this episode of the Medicine Mentors for a retrospective look at his journey and some tips he’s learned along the way. Tune in as Dr. Riedel shares with us the importance of working with the three Ps in mind: being present, passionate, and purposeful; recognizing that a mentoring relationship is a two-way street; and how to realize success in the small accomplishments everyday.

Pearls of Wisdom:
1. As a physician, your first major relationships are with patients. Given the short time you may have with them, take time to listen rather than speak. Engage with your patients and empathize with their worries to create room for stronger relationships. 
2. The life of a physician can be stressful, taxing, and time-consuming. While you might think you’re the only one in the boat, your family and loved ones ride along with you whether you know or not. Dedicating time for your family is important to stay balanced with physicianship. 
3. Mentoring relationships can be what you make of them but their potential is limitless and can stretch a lifetime with the right people. Be sure to choose wisely and find a mentor that not only advocates for you, but that you admire professionally and personally. 
4. Whether it’s clinic based research or advocacy, achieving a broader goal of good in society requires the big three Ps: present, passionate, purposeful. If you love what you do every moment is appreciated, but it’s also important to ensure that time is aligned with your goals.