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Book Recommendations

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Author: Susannah Cahalan

In this award-winning memoir and New York Times best seller, Susannah Cahalan tells the astonishing true story of her struggle with a rare and terrifying disease. The immensely popular memoir is now being adapted for the big screen, and is currently being filmed in Vancouver, B.C.

“One thing you don’t want to be to your doctor is “an interesting case.” Susannah Cahalan had the bad luck of being a unique and baffling one: profoundly sick, deteriorating with dangerous speed, yet her MRIs, brain scans and blood tests were normal. “My diagnosis had been discussed in almost every major medical journal,” she tells us with an air of pride and exhausted wonder, “including the New England Journal of Medicine, and The New York Times.”

Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

Author: Atul Gawande

In this fascinating account of true stories, Atul Gawande depicts the power and limits of medicine. He notes that, “No matter what measures are taken, doctors will sometimes falter, and it isn't reasonable to ask that we achieve perfection. What is reasonable is to ask that we never cease to aim for it.”

“None surpass Gawande in the ability to create a sense of immediacy, in his power to conjure the reality of the ward, the thrill of the moment-by-moment medical or surgical drama. Complications impresses for its truth and authenticity, virtues that it owes to its author being as much forceful writer as uncompromising chronicler.” —The New York Times Book Review



Article Recommendation

Medical student mentorship in radiation oncology at a single academic institution: A 10-year analysis

Authors: Ariel E. Hirsch MD, Ankit Agarwal BA, Alexander E. Rand BA, Nicholas J. DeNunzio BS, Krishnan R. Patel BA, Minh Tam Truong MD, Gregory A. Russo MD, Lisa A. Kachnic MD

Practical Radiation Oncology (2015) 5, e163–e168

Retrieved from:


Abstract – Purpose: Mentorship has been identified by medical students, residents, and faculty as an important component of specialty selection and research productivity in radiation oncology. This study quantitatively analyzes the impact of a mentorship program in radiation oncology targeted to medical students at our institution.

Methods and materials: We performed a retrospective review of 76 current or former medical students who were mentored by faculty radiation oncologists at our institution between 2004 and 2013. Data were collected from the medical school’s Office of Student Affairs and from internal departmental records. Mentees were organized by mentorship tracks, which included a clinical track and a research track. For each track, data were compiled and analyzed for student specialty selection, and Fisher exact tests were used to determine the relative significance of exposure to clinical, research, or both tracks on student likelihood of pursuing residency in radiation oncology relative to other specialties. We further tracked the research productivity of mentees in the program, as determined by the number publications that were coauthored by mentees and mentors each year.

Results: The absolute number of mentees has grown each year, with a total of 76 mentees, including 58 alumni, at the end of 2013. Mentees in the program have produced a total of 53 manuscripts, given 75 presentations at national conferences, and received numerous national and internal medical school research awards. Of the 58 alumni, 17 (29.3%) applied to and matched into radiation oncology residencies. Alumni of both the research and the clinical track were 5.76 (P < .01) times more likely to enter a radiation oncology residency program than the average single-track alumnus.

Conclusions: Mentorship in medical school is an important factor in the development of future radiation oncologists. These results demonstrate the positive impact mentorship has on specialty selection and research productivity.


Gender Differences in Academic Productivity and Leadership Appointments of Physicians Throughout Academic Careers

Darcy A. Reed, MD, MPH, Felicity Enders, PhD, Rachel Lindor, Martha McClees, and Keith D. Lindor, MD

Academic Medicine: January 2011 - Volume 86 - Issue 1 - pp 43-47

Retrieved from:


Abstract – Purpose: Because those selected for leadership in academic medicine often have a record of academic productivity, publication disparities may help explain the gender imbalance in leadership roles. The authors aimed to compare the publication records, academic promotions, and leadership appointments of women and men physicians longitudinally throughout academic careers.

Method: In 2007, the authors conducted a retrospective, longitudinal cohort study of all 25 women physicians then employed at Mayo Clinic with ≥20 years of service at Mayo and of 50 male physician controls, matched 2:1 by appointment date and career category, to women. The authors recorded peer-reviewed publications, timing of promotion, and leadership appointments throughout their careers.

Results: Women published fewer articles throughout their careers than men (mean [standard deviation] 29.5 [28.8] versus 75.8 [60.3], P = .001). However, after 27 years, women produced a mean of 1.57 more publications annually than men (P < .001). Thirty-three men (66%) achieved an academic rank of professor compared with seven women (28%) (P = .01). Throughout their careers, women held fewer leadership roles than men (P < .001). Nearly half (no. = 11; 44%) of women attained no leadership position, compared with 15 men (30%).

Conclusions: Women's publication rates increase and actually exceed those of men in the latter stages of careers, yet women hold fewer leadership positions than men overall, suggesting that academic productivity assessed midcareer may not be an appropriate measure of leadership skills and that factors other than publication record and academic rank should be considered in selecting leaders.



Have a burning question related to work-life balance, leadership, mentorship, or career development? We’re excited to announce our TWO oncologists in the Hot Seat for this installment.  Send your great questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to have them answered by our esteemed Hot Seat Oncologists, Dr. Kathy Pritchard and Dr. Scott Berry.


Dr. Kathy Pritchard

Dr. Kathleen Pritchard is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, with cross-appointments in the Departments of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, and Public Health Sciences. She is Clinical Director of the Ontario Clinical Oncology Group and Senior Scientist at the Sunnybrook Odette Regional Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

Dr. Pritchard’s research interests include clinical trials and translational approaches in the areas of adjuvant therapy, hormonal therapy, chemotherapy and optimal locoregional therapy for breast cancer. From 1994-2008, Dr. Pritchard served as Chair of the NCIC Clinical Trials Group Trials Breast Cancer Site Committee.

In 2005, Dr. Pritchard was awarded the O. Harold Warwick Prize for Cancer Control in Canada by the Canadian Cancer Society and the former National Cancer Institute of Canada for her work in clinical and translational trials in breast cancer. She is currently the Clinical Co-Chair of the Early Breast Cancer Trialists Collaborative Group (EBCTCG) Oxford Overview.


Dr. Scott Berry

Dr. Scott Berry is a medical oncologist at Toronto-Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre and an assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He completed his general medical training and medical oncology training at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Berry’s clinical research focus is gastrointestinal and prostate cancers. He is a member of the GI and GU site groups at the NCIC clinical trials group and Cancer Care Ontario. He holds peer-reviewed and industry-sponsored grants supporting his clinical research that is currently focused on the investigation of new anti-angiogenic regimens and other novel agents for the treatment of colon and prostate cancers.

 His other academic interest is the bioethical issues surrounding the care of people with cancer, in particular the ethics of end-of-life care and allocation of resources for new cancer treatments. Dr. Berry has a Masters degree in bioethics from the University of Toronto. He is the ethicist for the Cancer Program at Sunnybrook and Women’s. He is the ethics advisor to the Drug Quality And Therapeutics Committee (DQTC) – Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) Subcommittee the Data Safety Monitoring Committee of the NCIC Clinical Trials Group.

Dr. Berry also loves teaching and directs the Medical Oncology Training Program at the University of Toronto.


Nominate a Mentor or Mention an Accomplishment for Next Month!

AlinC and WinC provide a platform to increase visibility of great mentors on an international level. If you have someone in mind that has been an important mentor to you or people you know OR if you have achieved a new accomplishment, please email our Project Manager at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



WCLC 2015 — 16th World Conference on Lung Cancer
Sep-6-2015 – Sep-9-2015 in Denver, Colorado, USA

29th CARO Annual Scientific Meeting
Sep-9-2015 – Sep-12-2015 in Kelowna, BC, Canada

European Cancer Congress 2015 (ECC 2015)
Sep-25-2015 – Sep-29-2015 in Vienna, Austria

47th Congress of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology
Oct-8-2015 – Oct-11-2015 in Cape Town, South Africa

Canadian Cancer Research Conference
Nov-8-2015 – Nov-10-2015 in Montreal, QC, Quebec

ESMO Symposium on Immuno-Oncology 2015
Nov-20-2015 – Nov-21-2015 in Lausanne, Switzerland

2015 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS)
Dec-8-2015 – Dec-12-2015 in San Antonio, Texas, USA


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