Tuesday, August 22, 2006


MeSsedTuP is a humorous take on my previous academic training. Actually the acronym is MSTP which stands for Medical Scientist Training Program. We also used to say it stands for Maybe Someday To Practice. Today's theme has nothing to do with the above pictures. They refer to how I am spending my summer vacation. And my new-found ability to download two pictures to my blog at a time. Of course, I still haven't figured out how to move them around the page.

To begin (again). Well, around a century or two ago when I was young and idealistic, I had the honor of being accepted to the MSTP program. The MSTP is a federally funded program designed to create Medical Scientists. The theory is that students complete both an M.D. and a Ph.D. (somewhat) concurrently and therefore become ideally placed to become cutting edge medical researchers.

And why am I on a rant about something that I started in 1983 and finished in 1992? Because I have run into some interesting Blogs by women in science. Some are completing Ph.D.'s and some are junior faculty. I wish them all luck. And I admire their Blogging acumen. I have linked to two (another new Blog skill) but there are more out there worthy of attention.

The interesting thing is that I'm not sure I am a "woman in science" anymore. For me the "Maybe Someday To Practice" is descriptive of my current career choice. My work life since 1983 has gone more or less as follows: Ph.D. (basic science), M.D., postdoctoral fellowship (bio-medical), residency, medical fellowship, academic position, private hospital position, academic position, private practice. If my thesis advisor knew what I do for a living now, I think he would feel all his hard work wasted. But what about all my hard work? Was it wasted?

The answers depend on how you look at it. See, being a woman in science, I also have to listen to the old biological clock ticking away (in direct conflict to any potential tenure clock). Somehow I managed to squeeze into the above list, marriage (Ph.D.), first child (M.D.), spend time with first child before intern year (postdoctoral fellowship), see child on days when not on call (internship and residency), second child(fellowship, no more in-house call), raise a family and earn a living (all jobs since). Job number three made me decide against potential child number three--fatigue factor was too daunting.

Oh, by the way spouse is a "man in science"--now why does no one ever use that phrase? He managed his Ph.D. before marriage, skipped the M.D. and now has tenure. I am not trying to imply that he hasn't pulled his own weight (solo parenting while wife away on 24 hour call and zombie next day). I only bring it up here to point out how complicated it gets sometimes.

Anyhow, I'll leave you with this cliff-hanger ending. It's dinner time and I figure no one will read this Blog if it gets too long. Next installment, how I got out of science and into humanity. . . .

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