What attracted you to gastroenterology?
Gastroenterology is unique in the sense that it has intellectual challenges at the level of other complex internal medicine specialties, but the practice is combined with use of extensive practical physiological and anatomical testing and interventions.
Furthermore, the physician is usually directly involved in performing and interpreting these tests, which is a stimulating and interesting part of the practice. Often, the hypothesis you pose about a patient's pathophysiology in clinic is directly studied a few hours later in endoscopic, esophageal or motility labs.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for fellowship training?
Mayo Clinic is known worldwide as a leader in gastroenterology, and the esophageal and motility faculties here are second to none. I was attracted by the unique opportunity to really subspecialize within gastroenterology on my specific areas of interest, while under the mentorship of the best in the field.
What makes the Mayo Clinic Motility Fellowship and Esophageal Diseases Fellowship unique?
I completed my general gastroenterology fellowship in Australia and came to Mayo Clinic for the unique experience of advanced fellowships in esophageal and motility disorders. These fellowships are virtually unique, as few places have subspecialty faculties and clinical practices that can support an advanced fellowship in these subspecialties.
The balance of a very dynamic clinical practice coupled with supported, protected research time makes an advanced fellowship a once (or in my case, twice) in a lifetime opportunity.
Did anything surprise you about Mayo's program?
I was surprised at the very diverse and international blend of people at Mayo Clinic. I was also very surprised at the level of personal involvement you receive from the thought leaders in the field.
Despite very busy careers, everybody at Mayo appears to have a genuine "open door" policy and is happy to give time and support to ideas about research projects or clinical questions on short notice.
What is living in Rochester, Minnesota, like for you?
Living in Rochester is great! I have three children under 6, and this town is safe, clean and full of family-friendly activities, many of which are free or very reasonably priced. We have lived here 18 months now and still have to juggle every weekend to fit in all the new experiences and activities we want to undertake.
There is no traffic; there is no time wasted commuting. The climate here (which is significantly colder than Australia) can be a challenge, but it also gives opportunities for new activities. Some of the best weekends I have had in Rochester have been spent tobogganing with my family with hot chocolate afterward!
What does your future look like right now?
Excellent! I have been fortunate enough to be offered an opportunity to join the faculty here at Mayo Clinic. This is an amazing, life-changing opportunity and a surprise, as my plan was to spend two years here obtaining subspecialty skills prior to returning to Australia.
The opportunity to combine my dream career with such an ideal place to raise a family was irresistible.