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August 9, 2023

President’s Letter from C. Buddy Creech – Passing Along Wisdom

I ran across the following quote that, for me, warrants sharing.

“In a single day, we can take in more information and ideas than was ever possible, yet at the end of the day we can still lack wisdom. Constant connectivity empties us out, as individuals and as a society, making us shallower thinkers and more impatient with others.” – Tish Harrison Warren (New York Times, August 6, 2023)

I am still unpacking all that this quote entails; however, the notion that I take in and transmit massive amounts of information each day, but can still lack wisdom, resonates with me.  Both professionally and personally, I find that my best days are the ones where I can really think through something, not just think about it.

This is one of the reasons that I love fellows case conferences at our institution so much. The best conferences are the ones that aren’t merely about transmitting information about a specific case, but are asking important questions such as, ‘why this child” or “what risks led to this particular infection?” By asking the next question, we begin that journey from knowledge to wisdom.

Many of my newsletters include a charge, or an ‘ask.’ Here’s my ask this month: as many of us onboard new fellows, we are cognizant of our need to teach the ‘what’ of pediatric infectious diseases; but let us recommit to teaching the ‘why’ and the ‘how,’ as well. This is how we teach not only the knowledge of pediatric ID, but also the accrued wisdom that comes after years of seeing patients, consulting with mentors and peers, and developing our own systems of pattern recognition.

As we think about our identity as pediatric ID clinicians, educators, investigators, and advocates, let us be known as those who seek not only information, but also wisdom. The desire to be wise clinicians, educators, investigators, and advocates for children will continue to be one of our greatest recruitment tools.

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