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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 20, 2023

Melissa Accordino, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Program Director of the Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program at Columbia University’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. Through leading clinical research trials in cancer she has been bestowed grants from high profile foundations like The American Society of Clinical Oncology, The Hope Foundation, and The American Cancer Society, and many more. A leader in cancer research, she aims to improve the quality and delivery of cancer care and cancer survivorship within oncology.

“I tell my fellows, go meet with these big wigs. If you’re the one person in their day not asking them for a bunch of money and you just want some advice and let them talk, that’ll be the highlight of their day.” Accustomed to the reality of mentorship from both sides, Dr. Melissa Accordino joins us in this episode of the Medicine Mentors to remind us that asking for advice is good, but asking for advice early is better. “It's hard to admit that we do need the help and to yield that control...But I think in order to grow and be successful, it’s essential."

Pearls of Wisdom:
1. Asking for help is good, but asking for help early is the secret sauce. When our teammates need help, we want to be able to take on the burden. And at the same time, when we need the help, we should lean on them.
2. We all have a lot more in common than we think. We can start by finding common ground with our potential mentor and even just make small talk. That makes the relationship build organically and turns it from a skill-based mentorship to life-based mentorship.
3. We should stay true to ourselves. It's important not to sit there to try and tell our mentors what we think they want to hear, because if they're really invested in helping us, then we need to be honest.