Career planning in medicine can be a difficult process. It involves short bursts of intense decision-making followed by sustained education and clinical training. After this, perhaps a specialty speaks to you, as pain medicine did for me, and then you add on fellowship training. Sometimes you have unplanned experiences; this is what happen for me. Walking into Dr. Troels Jensen’s pain lab in Aarhus, Denmark, I saw a path I had not considered – research. I experienced an environment of creativity, intellectual curiosity and possibilities. The path to my NIH Mentored Career Development Grant (K08) was paved with rejection letters, stepwise successes, and support from numerous mentors, sponsors and colleagues.

Despite being surrounded by brilliant people doing interesting things at Johns Hopkins, research was not part of my everyday trainee clinical experience. With the support of Drs. Wu, Raja...

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