The advice gastroenterologists would give their younger selves

Three gastroenterologists recently joined Becker's to share the advice they would give their younger selves.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity. If you would like to contribute to our next question, please email Paige Haeffele at

Question: What advice would you give your younger self when you were first entering the field of medicine?

Themistocles Dassopoulos, MD. Director, Baylor Scott and White Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (Dallas): I would advise a young physician to develop his/her emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is key to personal growth, high-quality patient care and improved performance as a member and leader of the healthcare team.

Yuying Luo, MD. Gastroenterologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai Health System (New York City): Remember that it is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be many hard days and grueling shifts, so give yourself grace. Find what sparks joy in your day-to-day. For me, it is my relationships with my patients. I've saved positive and encouraging messages from patients that I go back to whenever I have a particularly tough day. It is also equally important to nourish your relationships outside medicine; cherish time with friends and family as they will be your greatest support. 

John Pandolfino, MD. Gastroenterologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University (Chicago): To focus more on emotional intelligence than just medical knowledge and research skill development. Emotional intelligence is involved in every aspect of your career, and continued self-reflection and learning from mistakes is crucial to a career in academic medicine.

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