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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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Jul 23, 2021

Matthew A. Sparks, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Department of Nephrology and the Program Director for the Nephrology Fellowship Program at the Duke University School of Medicine. He also serves as the Director of Medical Student Research, and Lead of Society for Early Education Scholars Program in the department of medicine. Dr. Sparks completed his medical school and residency in Internal Medicine from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He then pursued a fellowship in Nephrology from Duke University School of Medicine. He serves as the co-program director of the Nephrology Social Media Collective (NSMC) and member of the board of directors of the Nephrology Journal Club (NephJC). He is also interested in finding ways to promote medical education. His focus is on leveraging social media to enhance learning in nephrology. He has been awarded the Excellence in Education Award in 2016 and the Young Physician-Scientist Award in 2017.

As medical students, residents, and interns, we always look to inspirations who always dreamt of becoming physicians from an early age and eventually achieved their goal. Bizarrely enough, it was a music mentor that inspired Dr. Matthew Sparks to switch from music and take up education in medicine. A few more influential mentors in his life and now he is a successful Nephrologist and pioneer in the field. Learn as he shares his journey, challenges, and the wisdom that he gained in his pursuit.

Pearls of Wisdom:

1. Our mentors need to be people who believe in us and have faith in our abilities, even when we fail to realize it ourselves.
2. The motivation and intention that we have before reaching out to potential mentors must be genuine. It’s a two-way street; the mentor and mentee both learn from each other.
3. Realizing that you are giving your best and working as hard as you can is enough. It gives you the strength to deal with failures and the challenges that are thrown your way.