Advice for Future Doctors and Scientists
Twenty years ago, Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa hopped a border fence from Mexico into the United States and became a migrant farm worker, living in the fields in a broken-down camper he bought for $300. When told he would probably be a farm worker for the rest of his life, he signed up for English classes at a community college, where one of his teachers encouraged him to apply to UC-Berkeley. There, he developed a passion for science, and showed remarkable aptitude. He went on to Harvard Medical School and graduated with honors, followed by a residency in neurosurgery at UC-San Francisco, where he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental and stem cell biology. He later received the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Ronald Bittner Award. Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa is now an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Oncology at Johns Hopkins and serves as the Director of the brain tumor program at the The Johns Hopkins Bayview campus. There, his focus is on the surgical treatment of primary and metastatic brain tumors, with an emphasis on motor and speech mapping during surgery.
Description: There has been no better time to enter science.
Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa: I think what I'd tell young people today, or anybody, this is an exciting time to enter both medicine and science. Okay? Whether you enter as a scientist, or whether you enter as a physician, or whether you come in as a combination of a physician/scientist, this is an exciting time. I cannot conceive a better time to enter science. I know people are concerned the funding is coming down, we don't have the same resources. That to me is nonsense.
The technology-- we are at an incredible peak in the amount of technologies that we have. There are people out there who are willing to invest in you, if you have good ideas, if you can show them what you are doing, if you can bring them into your life and show them the passion that you have, the dreams that you have. And the way they're going to fulfill those dreams-- there are people that are willing to give you and help you with resources. The challenge is how to communicate those dreams and that vision that you have.
So I say to young people, this is an exciting time, and what you can do to prepare yourself is get yourself a very good education. Think about it every day, about what you do, and be a good scientist, be an excellent student, be an excellent physician when you become. I tell you, the difference between a good physician/scientist and an excellent physician/scientist is that the excellent physician/scientist is also an excellent human being; and nothing, nothing comes close to that.
Recorded on: July 2, 2008
There has been no better time to enter science.
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