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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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Jan 25, 2021

James de Lemos MD is a Professor of Medicine and holds the Sweetheart Ball-Kern Wildenthal, MD, Ph.D. Distinguished Chair in Cardiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. de Lemos completed his Medical school at Harvard and Internal Medicine Residency at UT Southwestern, where he also served as Chief Medical Resident.  He completed a fellowship in Cardiovascular Medicine and served on the faculty at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital before returning to UT Southwestern in 2000. He is an invited member of the Association of University Cardiologists, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and the Association of American Physicians. He has mentored >30 post-doctoral research trainees and authored over 300 manuscripts. He is the Executive Editor for Circulation and previously served on the editorial board of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the American Journal of Cardiology, and the American Heart Journal. He has won several teaching and mentorship awards including 2015 Women in Cardiology Mentoring Award by the American Heart Association and the 2020 Distinguished Mentor Award from the American College of Cardiology.

As a medical student, Dr. James de Lemos was often hesitant to reach out to mentors because he didn't want to impose on their time. Today, he considers mentorship one of his great joys, one he finds immensely rewarding. Today. Dr. de Lemos shares his philosophy around mentorship thru various perspectives: as a mentee and as a mentor; for research, career, and life. He sheds light on the importance of finding the right mentors earlier in life and the joys of being a part of a mentees’ early accomplishments. It’s clear that mentorship is the favorite part of Dr. de Lemos’ job.

Pearls of Wisdom:

1. Mentors are looking for mentees that do what they say they’re going to do when they say they’re going to do them.
2. The right mentor is oftentimes more important than the right project. Find out about the mentor before signing up: how successful have they been working with other mentees at your level? Will they work in your best interest? Is it fun to work with them?
3. Don’t look only for career mentors. Look for life mentors. Oftentimes, these are the people who remind you that the journey is more important than the destination.
4. What muscles should medical students work to build? First, challenge yourself to pass it forward through teaching. Then, in clinics,  practice deliberate decision-making and empathy with humor. Finally, train yourself to be efficient.