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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 5, 2023

Robert Soiffer, MD, is the Chief of the Division of Hematologic Malignancies at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Worthington and Margaret Collette Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. A renowned malignant hematology researcher, Dr. Soiffer has served as President of the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and is the immediate past chair of the board of the National Marrow Donor Program. He has co-authored more than 400 peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters, review articles, editorials, and monographs.

“Early in my career, when I would mentor people, I would explain to them exactly how I did what I did. A lot of folks would say, I want to be like you. But you need to realize that you’re not like me, you're different, you're YOU. So you have to find your own path.” Known as a “mentor to mentors”, Dr. Robert Soiffer teaches us how to best utilize mentors to carve our own path, how JOY in medicine lies in the JOurneY not necessarily the outcomes, and the ephemeral nature of success, which is why “you can’t enjoy the successes too much or wallow in the failures too much because they’re going to flip around.”

Pearls of Wisdom:
1. We have to remember history in order to define the present and improve the future. The greatest memory tool is talking to the patient, asking the patient, and letting that serve as the way we remember their story.
2. Don’t connect failure or success to the end result; focus on improving the journey and finding joy in that process.
3. You don’t have to be a mentor’s shadow; talk about your path and vision with them to gain insight on how you can achieve that.
4. Have fun everyday and never miss a meal.