Though they come with plenty of skills, she can teach them many of the technical aspects.
Director of the Fellowship Training Program in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine, Diane Bodurka, M.D., says working with talented young physicians “keeps me on my toes.”
“I have to challenge them,” she says. “And I have to keep learning, because I want to have the answers for them.”
Most recently, she’s the proud mentor of Shannon Westin, M.D., fellow in the Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics, who earned a 2010 Trainee Excellence Award for her presentation on persistent obesity among endometrial cancer survivors.
Recognized for teaching
In July, Bodurka was honored for teaching excellence by The University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education. She juggles many responsibilities — including her favorite, “being the mother of two” — in addition to fellowship training.
It’s clear that for her, caring for her patients enhances her work with talented fellows. “My patients have so much grace and dignity. An appreciation for life.” She pauses. “They’re going through so much, yet they ask how my family is doing. They’re just lovely. They’re fighters. They teach you that every day is special.”
Though she leads by example, Bodurka knows her trainees will each learn their own way with patients. “Sooner or later they all meet a patient who touches them. That’s how they develop their empathy,” she says.
Although MD Anderson’s Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine is dedicated only to cancer treatment, it was rated No.10 among all types of gynecologic programs in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s 2010 “Best Hospitals” survey.