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A Career Changing Trip to Seattle

  • Jennifer Sue Temel
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Jennifer Sue Temel, MD, Medical Oncology Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.
    Affiliations
    Harvard Medical School, Medical Oncology Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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      As a young non-palliative care trained oncologist, I always felt like an outsider in the palliative care research community. I did not know any individuals in the field especially well, as most palliative care investigators at that time were conducting studies outside of oncology. I felt insecure about engaging with other palliative care investigators in light of my background, lack of experience, and junior status in the field. However, I also did not feel like I had a home in oncology. Most oncologists had not yet embraced and acknowledged the importance of palliative care research for patients with cancer, and so I was uncertain about how to move forward with in this research agenda and build a successful program without support and guidance from experienced investigators. These concerns were compounded by feedback from a National Cancer Institute Scientific Review Group which had not recommended my first application for a mid-Career Development Award (K24) for funding due to significant concerns about my plan to further my palliative care research methodology education and training. The review committee suggested that I consider adding site visits with senior palliative care investigators to learn about their research team structure, processes, and methods. While reading a summary statement on an unfunded proposal is always difficult, this weakness felt particularly challenging for me to acknowledge, and address due to my self-doubt about my place in the palliative care community.
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