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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 24, 2023

Naveen Pemmaraju, MD, is the Director of Blastic Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Neoplasm (BPDCN) Program and an Associate Professor of Cancer Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He also serves as the Executive Director of Cancer Medicine for the MDACC Cancer Network. He is a principal investigator for several national clinical trials in MPNs, AML, and BPDCN, and he has helped develop novel targeted therapies for patients with these disorders. He led a multicenter team in a phase 1/2 clinical trial for patients with BPDCN that ultimately led to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the first targeted agent available for this rare leukemia. He has authored/co-authored over 315+ publications and has been awarded the Gerald P. Bodey Award for Excellence in Education from MD Anderson.

“It is knowing the story behind the story that sets apart the ‘go-to’ clinicians. They are able to make connections and discoveries about diseases and situations that other folks miss.” Tune into a conversation with Dr. Naveen Pemmaraju on clinical ‘base-building’, developing a wins-'learns’ mindset, and becoming innovators in our field.
Pearls of Wisdom:
1. Have a strong and fundamental base of knowledge. The best physicians aren’t working the longest hours, they are working the smartest, and the reason they can do this is that they have a vast reserve of knowledge. That is the key to mastery.
2. There are no losses, only wins and learns. When you start to realize the opportunities for learning that lie in failures, that’s when losses shed their disguise and become a momentous phenomenon of growth.
3. Become a leader. Be the go-to doctor for other doctors when they are faced with unsolvable, diagnostically dilemmic cases. This can only take place when you master your craft and take an effort to know the patients as people first.