Cultivating Career Development: A Distinguished Mentor Reflects on Years of Teaching | Cardiology Magazine
Even in the hands of a veteran electrophysiologist such as himself, Fred Morady, MD, FACC, is fully aware of the complications that can occur when treating a cardiac arrhythmia with ablation. As someone who regularly provides hands-on instruction on proper surgical technique to still-in-training fellows, Morady endures the benefit of even more unnecessary risk. “Fortunately,” says Morady, “I’ve had a very good knack for selecting very talented people to work with me.”
Spending his entire career working at the University of Michigan’s Clinical Electrophysiology Laboratory since 1984, and serving as its director until 2007, Morady has spent years teaching fellows-in-training the groundbreaking methods he helped pioneer in treating various heart rhythm disorders. With specialists at University of Michigan today performing over 1,000 such procedures each year – making the facility a national and international leader in the treatment of life-threatening arrhythmia – Morady has continually demonstrated his skill as an educator through the success of his students. “At the beginning of the year they have no clue as to what’s going on,” says Morady of each new batch of eager fellows. “Hopefully by the end of two years they get most things right. I always show them cases that are difficult enough that they don’t know what’s going on, and that’s how they learn. That’s how they expand their knowledge.”
Reflecting on the close relationship he had with his own mentor, Mel Scheinman, MD, FACC, who invented the field of catheter ablation and performed its first procedure in 1981, Morady keeps his students within constant proximity to promote their lessons. “I interact a lot with my students,” says Morady. “On the days that I work in the electrophysiology laboratory, at the end of the day I always have teaching rounds where we go over interesting cases, and we work very closely together.”
Honoring his ongoing enthusiasm for teaching, Morady was recently presented with a Distinguished Mentor Award at ACC.14. While he has a great deal of pride in the large amount of clinical research he’s done and the lives he’s saved, Morady has just as much pride for his former fellows-in-training who have gone on to have very successful careers, including several who are now directors of their own electrophysiology programs.
“I like to think that their time with me contributed to their successes,” says Morady. “I don’t think the role of a mentor is to push anyone into a path. If the person doesn’t have that internal motivation to work in a certain field and become proficient, I don’t think a mentor would have a major impact. I think the times when mentorship is most important is when you have someone who is very motivated and very interested and succeeds in the field, and the mentor guides them in the right direction and provides training and ideas to help in the career development of that individual.”
The ACC is calling for mentors and mentees to enroll in its new Mentoring Program. Developed by leaders of the Early Career Professional Section as a benefit of ACC membership, the program provides mentees with knowledgeable mentors based on their interest areas or career and professional development needs. The ACC’s online mentoring portal, powered by the HEALTHeCAREERS Network, connects cardiovascular practitioners, researchers and faculty members so they can form relationships that will enhance their skillset and promote intellectual growth. Learn more at ACC.org/Mentoring.
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