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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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Oct 11, 2023

Ralph Hruban, MD, is a world-renowned pancreatic cancer pathology expert. He serves as the Baxley Professor and Director of the Department of Pathology, and Director of the Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at Johns Hopkins University. He co-founded the National Familial Pancreas Tumor Registry at Johns Hopkins in 1994, created an award-winning iPad application to teach pancreas pathology and an iPad and iPhone app for patients with pancreatic cancer. Dr. Hruban has authored more than 850 peer-reviewed manuscripts and ten books, including the standard textbook on pancreatic pathology (the AFIP Fascicle on Tumors of the Pancreas) and the World Health Organization “blue book” on tumors of the digestive tract. He has received numerous awards including the PanCAN Medical Visionary Award and the Ruth C. Brufsky Award of Excellence in Clinical Research for Pancreatic Cancer.

How did modern medicine get to where it is today? As much as it’s about scientific advances, it’s just as much about the people who overcame extreme hardships and helped forge not only advances in diagnostics and medicine, but also values and ethics of the medical profession. In this episode, Dr. Ralph Hruban highlights some of the pioneers of early American medicine from his new book, A Scientific Revolution: Ten Men and Women Who Reinvented American Medicine. Listen in as Dr. Hruban provides a fascinating glimpse into the trials and tribulations of America’s medical founders who played a fundamental role in transforming medicine from a trade into a science.

Pearls of Wisdom:
1. Not taking no for answer is the ultimate quintessential quality that we have seen in all of these medical pioneers who have been faced with hardships.
2. It’s important to reflect on where science would be today had the barriers of racism and sexism not been present.
3. Our current medical mentors fill an important role but there’s also value in historical mentors that help remind us of the medical professionals we aspire to be like.