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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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Nov 16, 2020

Hilary Ryder, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Medical Education and Director of the internal medicine residency program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Dr. Ryder completed her medical school from Yale University School of Medicine and her internship and residency training in internal medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock before joining the faculty in the Section of Hospital Medicine where she focuses on end of life care, medical decision making and medical ethics. She is a nationally certified Health Care Ethicist and was the chair of the clinical ethics committee. Dr. Ryder has a keen interest in medical education and also served as Medical Editor for SIMPLE, the most widely used on-line, case-based third-year medical clerkship curriculum. Her current work focuses on meaning and understanding of assessments and evaluations, understanding how medical students learn (including mastery of hidden curriculum), and improving clinical systems to maximize education.

When Dr. Hilary Ryder was in second grade, she refused to sit at a table with a child in her class that was bullying her. Her mom—her first mentor—sat with her in protest outside of the classroom until the bully was moved to a different table. It was there that Dr. Ryder experienced how mentors are advocates for mentees. When mentees are faced with obstacles that inhibit their learning or well-being, it is the role of the mentor to stand behind them in support until those obstacles are removed. Since then, Dr. Ryder has practiced supporting her mentees in the same way. When we face “stumbling blocks” in medicine, we can count on strong mentors to help us remove them—and realize our potential.

Pearls of Wisdom:

1. Mentors help us remove our “stumbling blocks”. When obstacles come our way, good mentors stand behind us and help remove them, and then we realize our potential.
2. As Ruth Bader Ginsberg would say, “you can have it all in your lifetime, but you can’t have it all at once.” Think critically about your core values, and your priorities, as you make decisions along the way.
3. The attitude of gratitude is a driving force for fulfillment. And realizing that we are so privileged to have been given so much so far, should push us to want to give back in return.