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Outside the Lab Profession, Training and education

The Wisdom of Heraclitus

“The only constant in life is change,” said Heraclitus. And although he made that declaration 2,500 years ago, it’s no less true today, when uncertainty reigns supreme.

To open back up or lock back down? Pursue a COVID-19 vaccine or turn our focus to treatment over prevention? Spend as much time as possible in the lab or optimize our ability to work from home? These are the tough decisions we face now, often with no way of feeling sure of our choices. As doctors and scientists, we have the good fortune of both access to primary research and the background knowledge to understand it – but what about those who don’t? With information (and misinformation) filling the airwaves, it’s no surprise that many people aren’t able to keep up with rapid developments in pandemic science – or the recommendations that follow.

So what can we do to help? As we reassess the risks and recommendations, we can ask ourselves, “How will I share this with people from different backgrounds?” We can challenge ourselves to communicate what we know – to educate, rather than alienate. We can seek out misunderstandings and offer clarity. And, sometimes, we can listen – and learn ourselves.

Between virtual events, online publishing, and social media, we still have countless opportunities to share knowledge.

This issue of The Pathologist kicks off our special series on molecular pathology – another area in which we’re seeing rapid change. New biomarkers, innovative diagnostics, and creative approaches are altering our understanding of disease on a daily basis. It’s true that we aren’t currently traveling to conferences to present these advances – but between virtual events, online publishing, and social media, we still have countless opportunities to share knowledge.

Has your communication style changed since the start of the pandemic? What are your top tips and tricks for your colleagues? Let us know ([email protected]) and we’ll share them with the world!

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About the Author
Michael Schubert

While obtaining degrees in biology from the University of Alberta and biochemistry from Penn State College of Medicine, I worked as a freelance science and medical writer. I was able to hone my skills in research, presentation and scientific writing by assembling grants and journal articles, speaking at international conferences, and consulting on topics ranging from medical education to comic book science. As much as I’ve enjoyed designing new bacteria and plausible superheroes, though, I’m more pleased than ever to be at Texere, using my writing and editing skills to create great content for a professional audience.

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