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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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Feb 23, 2023

Nancy Davidson, M.D., serves as the Executive Vice President for Clinical Affairs and Senior Vice President and Professor of the Clinical Research Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center at the University of Washington, where she heads the Division of Medical Oncology. She is the past President of both the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). She is a recipient of a number of prestigious awards including the ASCO Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award and the NCI Rosalind E. Franklin Award and was recently inducted into the Giants of Cancer Care.

“I don’t think I can ever be a professor at Johns Hopkins,” said Dr. Davidson when she was a junior faculty to her mentor Dr. Martin Abeloff. He responded with three words she has taken to heart since: “Why ever not?” Tune into a conversation with Dr. Nancy Davidson, world-renowned breast cancer researcher and past president of both ASCO and AACR, on pushing beyond doubts and uncertainties, preserving the ‘One Community’ mindset as we work in teams, and embracing the most effective mentoring relationship: Bidirectional.

Pearls of Wisdom:
1. The central theme of our careers should be the patient. With every setback, failure, challenge, lost opportunity, and professional strife, we should try to reorient ourselves and bring our focus back to the patient's healthcare.
2. Mentorship is bidirectional. We will provide mentorship to people, but if we're smart and we listen well, some of the people that we are so-called mentors for will be teaching us all along the way.
3. Why ever not? An important question when we doubt ourselves. There is an element of resilience and recovery; not everything will go swimmingly in our career, but taking what we can learn from it will help us move forward.
4. All of us are looking for growth, but one thing that is essential is seizing the moment, and that involves saying yes and jumping on the opportunity when many times we are taught to say no.