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New Blogger Joins The Differential

Hsrobeythomas2Thomas Robey -- It’s a pleasure to join The Differential. I’ve been writing about science and society for about six months over at Hope for Pandora. That blog is a nursery for my musings about science, religion, medicine and politics. I’ll try to keep all of the messy stuff over there, but don’t be surprised if I don a different hat every so often. Differential readers should be used to eclecticism, however. Medical school is, after all, a hodgepodge of information, clinical approaches and personalities. (That is, if hodgepodges are even discernable from the messy contents expelled from the fire hose that is medical education.)

The last time I checked, I am a 7th year MD/PhD student at the University of Washington -- the one in Seattle. You may know of folks like us as “Mud-Phuds.” I prefer a moniker based on the acronym for Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP = “Messed Up”).

While I was in PhD land, I pursued many seemingly disparate interests. I titled my thesis, “Reducing Cell Death and Fibrosis in Cardiomyoplasty,” which is a way of saying in seven words that I injected human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes into infarcted mouse hearts and identified ways to better keep the grafted cells alive and integrated into the remaining myocardium.

That was the meat of my grad school education, but since I can’t seem to focus on just one thing at a time, I helped form an organization called the Forum on Science Ethics and Policy that sought to connect scientists, policymakers and the public about issues where science and policy overlap. I also served as an STD counselor for homeless Seattle youth. Working with controversial stem cells clued me into the complex relationship between science and politics. Working with an underserved population nurtured a perspective of compassionate care. Working with expensive, fast-paced science allowed me to probe first-hand the implications (economic and ethical) of the biomedical research complex. Working with a team of curious, risk-taking, and socially adventurous graduate students and post-doctoral fellows illuminated a number of potential career paths outside the standard physician-scientist mold.

This brings me to what I am doing here at The Differential. I wish to contribute to honest and informed discussions about science, medicine and public policy. More than in the past, physicians and scientists have an obligation to engage the public in dialogue about issues that will shape the future of medicine. How many structures are there to help trainees like us prepare for careers providing care and advocating for system improvements? Blogs like this are developing tomorrow’s communicators. For that reason, I repeat my opening sentence: It’s a pleasure to join The Differential.

January 7, 2008 in Thomas Robey | Permalink


So happy to have you here, Tom. For the rest of you, do check out Tom's home blog. It's nothing short of fantastic.

Posted by: Ben | Jan 7, 2008 3:48:29 PM

Wow, Thomas, very cool to see this new gig. I'm a fan of Thomas' other blog, so I can assure all you Differentiators that you'll be glad he's here. Go man go!

Posted by: Mark Powell | Jan 7, 2008 10:27:13 PM

Welcome to the Differential, Thomas! I just checked out your other blog, and it's fantastic. I look forward to reading your posts!

Posted by: Kendra | Jan 8, 2008 2:11:15 PM

Great to have you here!! Nice to know someone out there going to the UW! I live in the Seattle area also. Good luck!

Posted by: Ariella | Jan 8, 2008 11:10:39 PM

Thanks for the welcome!

Posted by: Thomas | Jan 15, 2008 11:06:22 PM

You are an animal experimenter. UUUUUUgh. It is not something that I would brag about.

Posted by: Tammy | Jan 16, 2008 8:00:27 AM

Why? Would you rather he injected humans?

Posted by: Ben | Jan 16, 2008 10:04:01 AM

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