"One of the things I remember very fondly from when I was in Glasgow as a pathologist in training was just the camaraderie… Every single one of those people would give up their time willingly, to train and help us so that we could become the pathologists of the future"
Kenneth Hillan (UK and USA)

  More quotes on Mentors and Influences

Almost every interviewee talks with warmth of those who have supported and encouraged them in their careers.  As Kenneth Hillan says, “Pathology's really a place where people look after each other.”  He explains that “because pathologists work together in terms of diagnosing cases, there's a terrific amount of mentorship in training.  That's one of the really nice things about the discipline, it's very one-on-one.  And people are always willing to help each other.”  All the interviews in the collection bear witness to this camaraderie.

Pathology's really a place where people look after each other.The influence of mentors in these professionals’ lives manifests itself in different ways.  Sometimes it is an encounter that is pivotal in terms of career direction (for example, Bill Bass, Sebastian Lucas).  Sometimes an inspiring teacher opened the eyes of a trainee to the potential of pathology (for example, Maesha Deheragoda, Kumararsen Cooper, Irene Scheimberg).  And sometimes it is the quiet background support that allows the pathologist to develop with confidence. 

As James Ironside says of one of his mentors:  “He was very good for me because he didn't do intensive supervision – I mean, he was there to support me when necessary... but he allowed me to make my own mistakes.  Not patient-threatening mistakes, it must be said!  But learning, and encouraging me that if you want to do something, go for it and see how it works out.”

It is striking how many pay tribute to those who were important in their careers and are determined to do the same for following generations.  “I have two families.  I have three biological sons, and then I have all of my masters and doctoral students and we're very close,” says Bill Bass.

Significant support and encouragement sometimes came from outside the profession too; a number of people mention family members, (for example Sue Black, Kumarasen Cooper, Waney Squier, Francisco González-Crussí).

Key interviewees:
Francisco González-Crussí, Miguel Reyes-Múgica, Irene Scheimberg, Juan Rosai, James Ironside, Sebastian Lucas, Maesha Deheragoda, David Levison, Kenneth Hillan, Richard Hewlett

See also:



Kumarasen CooperProfessor Wainwright, from Sheffield, was my first professor of pathology... He lectured, he wrote on the board, he never looked at his notes -- he’d look at a few things, but he would speak directly to the students, and I just loved that. Clearly, now that I think back, that’s why I love teaching. I just loved what this man was doing, teaching pathology! This is what I wanted to do. It was his enthusiasm that attracted me to pathology.
 - Kumarasen Cooper (South Africa and USA) 

Paola DomizioI'm what we call a senior tutor to a number of medical students here, and some of them have particular problems and you have to follow them quite closely, and they struggle throughout their medical career, some of them are ill, and following those and getting them to qualify is really…makes the job worthwhile to me, inspires me in the sense of I feel that it's a good job to have and it's good to have got these young people through who might otherwise not have. So I'm inspired by the students learning, I'm inspired by the fact that they seem to enjoy it, I'm inspired by getting the problem students through.
 - Paola Domizio (UK)

Bill BassCharlie Snow taught me bones, osteology. I was at a stage in my life where I wanted certainties – if I learned that that's the femur, it's the femur everywhere; it's the femur in Africa, in Asia.  Psychology was, ‘Well, it's like this here, but it changes over there’. It was just concepts that kept moving, moving, and I didn't feel that I knew anything. And then when Charlie Snow came in one day and said he had an ID case and would I like to go? I thought, ‘Great, this is great – I'd like to see how this is applied.’ And it was ‘aha learning’, as in ‘Aha, that's what I want to do!’
 - Bill Bass (USA) 

Francisco Gonzáles-CrussíProfessor Costero was witty… even those who were not officially his students just crowded into the room where he spoke. And at the same time he was erudite: he knew all kinds of terms, he was a wise man. I said: ‘I would like to be like that man’!  He was truly a role model… One of his students…had the fate of the good student which is to surpass the teacher, you know?  [Laughs]  He had a different orientation… He had an experimental turn of mind…

All of a sudden I saw that there were two worlds: one, [Isaac Costero’s] world of the erudite, complex classifications, difficult terminology, all of which sounded very elegant, very impressive; and [Ruy Perez-Tamayo’s world] which saw through this tangle of things into what was more essential, more rational…These were the two major forces in my life, the two people that I wanted to be like -- erudite, knowledgeable, like the first one; brilliant, enquiring, and even handsome like the second one… He had everything! [Laughs] They were very directing forces; that's why I came to pathology.
 - Francisco González-Crussí (Mexico and USA)

Maesha DeheragodaI had some very inspirational teachers. I don’t know if you’ve met Paola Domizio? He was just very interactive. A lot of people give their lectures and they just sort of talk at you, whereas Paola used to get the audience involved... I used to just think, “I’d so love to be like her.” Everybody wanted to be Paola. [Laughs] All the men wanted to marry someone like Paola! She was just this amazing icon. And she also made it very real. You could see what she was talking about; you could see why she was getting excited about the things that she was teaching us. That really made me think pathology...I really wanted to do it.
 - Maesha Deheragoda (UK)

Kenneth HillanOne of the things I remember very fondly from when I was in Glasgow as a pathologist in training was just the camaraderie… It was just the fact that people cared a lot about the trainees, making sure we were well trained, well mentored. When we were coming up towards exams we’d take up a huge amount of people’s time in our training, because you have to see so much in such a short time. 
Every single one of those people would give up their time willingly, to train and help us so that we could become the pathologists of the future.
 - Kenneth Hillan (UK and USA)

Elaine JaffeI had great mentors. There were two residents at the time who...were great teachers and made pathology very exciting and interesting. It certainly was not a 'dead' science in any sense. I felt I learnt most of my medicine by studying pathology -- it was kind of the basis for everything.
 - Elaine Jaffe (USA)

Kumarasen CooperProfessor Braithwaite, my professor of anatomy, was a marvellous gentleman! Smoked these cigars, taught us as he puffed on his cigar! He was an artist, literally, drawing these anatomical structures on the board which were almost [as good as] photographs – that’s what you took in and kept in mind when you dissected a body. It was wonderful. It was thrilling. It was superb. I just loved every minute of that – learning the anatomy of the body.
 - Kumarasen Cooper (South Africa and USA) 

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