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Marcia Goldberg, MD, the new Director of the Postdoctoral Division at Massachusetts General Hospital, hopes to make a positive impact on the next generation of scientists by providing mentorship and career advice.
When she first came to Massachusetts General Hospital to train as a resident and fellow, Marcia Goldberg, MD, benefited from some “fabulous” mentors—who not only helped her define her career path, but also provided an example for what mentorship should be.
Marcia Goldberg, MD
One such mentor was Stephen Calderwood, MD, the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. Calderwood not only mentored Goldberg while she conducted the research portion of her fellowship in his lab, but continued to provide guidance after she became a faculty member in the division.
As the principal investigator of her own research lab, Dr. Goldberg has worked to educate the next generation of scientists by providing mentorship and career advice to the postdoctoral fellows in her lab, and to trainees throughout the Division of Infectious Diseases.
She has also worked with master’s students, undergraduates and high school students who are interested in pursuing science as a career; has been the director of a T32 training grant for four years; and is part of the leadership team for the Harvard/MIT MD-PhD program.
It was this blend of first-hand experience and appreciation for the importance of training that led Goldberg to her new role as the inaugural director of the new Postdoctoral Division (PDD) of the Office of Research Career Development.
In her new position, which started in December of 2016, she is providing one-on-one career mentorship to Mass General postdocs and helping to create connections across the 1,500-person postdoctoral community.
“It’s clear to me, and to Mass General as an institution, that trainees are the lifeblood of our institution,” Goldberg said in a recent interview. “They are critical to the success of our research endeavors, and they are the future of biomedical research.”
In recent years, many postdocs at Mass General and beyond have expressed concerns about the large numbers of postdocs in training at academic medical institutions across the United States and the relative scarcity of faculty positions for them to pursue after completing their training.
“We’re obviously living in a changing research environment nationally, with some uncertainties about where research and research funding will be going over the next 5 to 10 years,” Goldberg acknowledged. “We aim to help postdocs figure out the best career path for them and find the next step along that path.”
In addition to academia, other potential career pathways include industry, government, non-governmental organizations, writing and patent law, she noted.
Goldberg also hopes to provide postdocs with strategies for maintaining a work-life balance—a goal that can be challenging during postdoctoral training. Goldberg not only has her own experiences of raising a family while pursuing her science career to draw from, but has also counseled trainees in her lab who were juggling the same priorities.
“These are issues I am familiar with,” she said. “I hope to provide some insights that will help others negotiate the same challenges.”
The Postdoctoral Division was created with the support of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), the Executive Committee on Research and department chairs to build on the existing work that has been done to support postdocs within the Office for Research Career Development.
Dr. Goldberg has office hours with the PDD on selected Monday mornings and Friday afternoons. Anyone wishing to schedule an appointment with her can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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