In this episode of the AGA podcast, Small Talk, Big Topics, hosts Matthew Whitson and Nina Nandy are joined by Dr. Janice Jou. Janice is the fellowship program director of GI at OHSU and a transplant hepatologist at the Portland VA. The episode focuses on what the conversation partners — especially Janice — wish they knew as fellows and young trainees about starting a career in GI, whether in practice or academia.
The conversation begins with an introduction to Janice and her background. She briefly overviews her professional career, specifically highlighting that she became GI fellowship program director about 6 years ago, bringing her back to her native Portland after a season of working out of state. Moving right into the main topic for the episode, Janice explains what she encourages and looks for in residents interested in GI and applicants to her fellowship program. She is drawn to people who are comfortable in their own skin, knowing their own motivation and passion. Passion, she finds, translates into success as a fellow.
Of course, passion and interest do not always play out in simple ways, and Janice discusses the need for and way to navigate career course-correction. Further, she details what valuable assets she observes in fellows and young faculty members as they work through the early years of their careers. In the 3 years of fellowship, Janice finds that the most successful fellows are those who use available resources (especially faculty) and seek out help, such as mentorship. Similar qualities mark a successful attending physician, and Janice specifically mentions the value of resiliency, which is especially important during the challenges of the first few years out of a fellowship program.
Moving forward, Janice comments on the value of soliciting career advice, the need to be both active and selective in accepting roles, and misconceptions about the early years within the academic GI field. Janice advises self-advocacy, humility and gratitude, and attention to the stories of others in the field. She concludes the conversation with one of the “Janice Jewels” shared in the conversation — memorable insights that are sure to stick with listeners!