Dr Daniel Chen, who finished his fellowship in endocrinology last year, is completing a PhD at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, as well as working as a specialist endocrinologist
Why did you decide to specialise in diabetes/endocrinology?
I enjoy diabetes and endocrine medicine for a few reasons. With the growing epidemic in obesity and type 2 diabetes, it is rewarding to manage patients in clinics to prevent diabetes progression and minimise complications. I enjoy the variety of work in diabetes, which has different mechanisms and management, from maturity onset diabetes of the young, type 1 diabetes and gestational diabetes, to type 2 diabetes associated with obesity and steroid-induced diabetes. Also, general endocrinology offers a breadth of experience in managing other endocrine problems including thyroid and pituitary issues, osteoporosis and polycystic ovary syndrome.
What did you enioy about the training program?
I did most of my diabetes/endocrinology training program at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, and started my PhD at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in my final year. The Garvan is a great place to learn about both clinical medicine and research and to see how science and physiology integrates with clinical medicine.
What have been the main obstacles and challenges?
The main challenges for me have been going through the stress of applying for government-funded scholarships and working on the weekend while
doing full-time research.
What advice do you have for other young doctors interested in diabetes care and research?
Diabetes research is rewarding, interesting and a great learning experience. However, it is a commitment in time and from a financial perspective, so it is important to evaluate your social circumstances and your career aspirations before you decide. Speak to colleagues, scientists and people who have completed endocrine training or a PhD in diabetes. They are often a great source of practical advice and tips.
What do you plan to do in the long term?
I am doing full-time research at the Garvan but also working as a specialist endocrinologist on Wednesdays and every second Saturday. I like a dynamic working life with a mix of clinical medicine and research. I plan to finish my PhD at the end of 2013 and hopefully take up a public hospital appointment as an endocrinologist. I’d like to continue with diabetes/obesity research and clinical medicine while working a few days a week in private rooms.
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