February 7, 2024

President’s Letter from Bill Steinbach – Mentors

We are each where we are today because someone took the time and the care to help us get here. Like many, those first mentors in my life were my parents. My parents are good Midwesterners, and as the oldest of five kids I learned very early that really hard work was the most revered family asset. 

My father was the first to go to college in his family, and I was the second.  His mother and father completed their schooling at the 7th and 8th grade, respectively. My father didn’t like to talk about it, but my mom would tell me stories of the many jobs he had during high school and college, like one where he spent nights cleaning floors, in order to pay for college. In the process, he was showing me how to achieve my goals.

Whether it’s that person in medical school who spent the extra time teaching you how to effectively present a new patient on rounds, or the career advice you got that you didn’t even know you needed but are now not sure how you would have survived without, it all adds up. We have those that show us what is possible, those that point us in a direction, those that nurture us over the long term.

The right mentoring helps us define our present and envision our future. As individual members of the Society, we do our own investments in mentoring. PIDS itself, though, has established programs where mentorship is an elemental component. For example:

  • The ‘m’ in meetID stands for ‘mentored.’ Through this program, PIDS provides support, resources, and networking to guide our cohorts as they assess how wonderful our specialty truly is and what opportunities they can capitalize on.
  • SUMMERS, meanwhile, has a PIDS member involved with each participant’s summer research project, providing guidance, recommendations, and making connections to assist in their completion.
  • The Antimicrobial Stewardship Fellowship Award supports future antimicrobial stewards through mentorship and funding to attend the Annual Pediatric Antimicrobial Stewardship Conference where they present the research that has been completed under PIDS mentorship.
  • JPIDS’s Ralph D. Feigin Apprenticeship accepts one junior faculty member each year to join the journal’s associate editors in reviewing and preparing manuscripts for publication under the guidance of the editors.

It’s intentional that our Society has put these programs into motion and aspires to assist more premed/medical students, residents, trainees, and junior faculty in achieving their goals. If you want to become more involved in any of these programs, or if you have ideas on future mentoring programs, please contact me or PIDS staff to get the discussion started.

Remember, we are all where we are today because someone helped us get here. A society is just an org chart until you build a community that sees the value in building up our specialty’s today and tomorrow.

And if you have a moment, and you are able to do so, drop a note to a mentor from your life. Let them know the role they played in your success and check in to see how they are. Then, figure out how you could pay it forward.

Improving the health of children worldwide through philanthropic support of scientific and educational programs.

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