Christopher A. Collura, M.D.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for fellowship training?
I went into pediatrics to specialize in hematology-oncology but discovered I was drawn to critical care. I find that neonatology is a perfect blend of critical care, general pediatrics and preventive medicine, with a focus on the psychosocial values of parents.
The field strikes a balance in innovation and ethics that plays to my strengths and encompasses what I had always envisioned my role as a physician would be.
What makes the Mayo Clinic Pediatric Neonatal and Perinatal Medicine Fellowship unique?
The environment at Mayo Clinic balances patient care and research well, with a predominant focus on fellow education. The consultants treat fellows as colleagues and respect our personal goals. The fellowship focuses on mentorship from a clinical and research perspective. The neonatologists make time to teach formally, but the bedside teaching is second to none.
I've had a lot of research success as a first-year fellow thanks to a personal investment from our program leadership. Our program directors want to know our career goals, and they'll work extremely hard to ensure these goals are met.
Did anything surprise you about Mayo's program?
Mayo's programs are academically enriched — clinical research, statistics and quality-improvement courses are woven into the fellowship curriculum. The focus on teaching, professionalism and interpersonal communication becomes apparent as training progresses.
The fellowship is far more robust than clinical service balanced with a specific research project. It aims to understand a fellow's long-term academic goals and works to achieve those through a multitude of educational tools. I'm surprised at how comfortable I feel in many different areas of academic medicine, which speaks to the comprehensive curriculum of the program.
Can you tell us a little bit about your research?
My research is balanced between basic science and completing a master's degree at the University of Minnesota. My basic science research focuses on developmental molecular genetics of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in a hyperoxic mouse model. Outside of the lab, I'm pursuing a master's degree in bioethics.
These two interests will serve to achieve my goals of becoming a well-trained clinical neonatologist with a strong background in the basic science of neonatal pathophysiology, while pursuing an academic career rooted in perinatal and pediatric bioethics.
What's it like living in Rochester, Minn.?
Rochester is a great place to live during training. It's an affordable setting that stresses outdoor healthy living, and it has a surprising amount to do for a city of its size. The city centers on the prominence of Mayo Clinic and caters to families.
In addition, the Twin Cities — Minneapolis and St. Paul — are only a little more than an hour away and provide a nice venue for professional and college sports, shopping, and dining.
What does your future look like right now?
My goal is to pursue an academic career that balances clinical neonatology, pediatric and neonatal bioethics, and pediatric and perinatal palliative care. This fellowship is preparing me well to pursue a career that is multifaceted, yet equally strong in each component.