American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
June 2008 Mentor of the Month Interview: Donald Young
Biography
  1. What is your job title and affiliation?
  2. Briefly tell us about your educational and career background
  3. What are your Board certifications?
  4. With which professional societies/organizations (e.g. AACC) are you involved?
  5. Just for fun, tell us a few interesting facts about yourself.
Career
  1. What area(s) do you specialize in?
  2. What initiated your interest in this (these) area(s) and how did you eventually choose this (these) area(s) for your career?
  3. What are your clinical and research interests?
  4. What, in your opinion, has been the most important contribution you have made to the field of laboratory medicine?
  5. Are there specific aspects of practicing laboratory medicine that you find unappealing?
  6. What were some of the most rewarding and/or challenging moments of your career?
  7. How would you recommend achieving an optimal work/life balance?
  8. What excites you about practicing laboratory medicine everyday?
  9. What are your predictions for advances in laboratory medicine and/or your area over the next ten years?
  10. What do you see as the challenges facing young scientists in laboratory medicine?
  11. What specific goals would you recommend that young scientists in your discipline set for themselves? Any suggestions on how to achieve them?
  12. Describe how you have been able to give back or contribute to the organizations and the profession in general through your involvement in AACC.
  13. How did you get started in these organizations and what advice do you have for young people wanting to get involved?
  14. Do you have any other specific comments or advice that you like to provide to the members of SYCL?
Biography
  1. What is your job title and affiliation?
    Vice-Chair for Laboratory Medicine, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
  2. Briefly tell us about your educational and career background.
    Medical degrees, University of Aberdeen (Scotland), Intern in Medicine and Surgery, University of Aberdeen Teaching Hospitals Lecturer in Pharmacology, University of Aberdeen PhD in Chemical Pathology, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, University of London Registrar (Resident) in Chemical Pathology, Hammersmith Hospital, London Fellow, then Chief of Clinical Chemistry Service, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD Head of Clinical Chemistry Section, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN Director of Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (and of William Pepper Laboratory, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania).
    En route became Chairman of the Board of Editors of Clinical Chemistry, President of the AACC and President of the IFCC and served on innumerable government and professional society committees
  3. What are your Board certifications?
    Subspecialty in Chemical Pathology, American Board of Pathology
  4. With which professional societies/organizations (e.g. AACC) are you involved?
    AACC
    Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists (ACLPS)
    NACB
    ACB
  5. Just for fun, tell us a few interesting facts about yourself:
    • Family
      Married with three sons
    • Favorite activities/hobbies
      Travel, Photography
Career
  1. What area(s) do you specialize in?
    All of Laboratory Medicine and metal toxicology.
  2. What initiated your interest in this (these) area(s) and how did you eventually choose this (these) area(s) for your career?
    The unfortunate outcome of a successful service and research career, which I had in clinical chemistry, is to be promoted into a position that becomes largely administrative where one has to get pleasure and pride in the accomplishments of others, rather than oneself.
  3. What are your clinical and research interests?
    Laboratory utilization and evidence-based practice of Laboratory Medicine
  4. What, in your opinion, has been the most important contribution you have made to the field of laboratory medicine?
    Identifying the importance of biological variability, organizing the structure of AACC and IFCC, establishing Divisions of AACC, creation of Effects database
  5. Are there specific aspects of practicing laboratory medicine that you find unappealing?
    The amount of time involved in administration
    The length of time it takes to effect change
  6. What were some of the most rewarding and/or challenging moments of your career?
    Initiating change in all the activities in which I have become involved
  7. How would you recommend achieving an optimal work/life balance?
    Resist the temptation ever to become a workaholic
  8. What excites you about practicing laboratory medicine everyday?
    The imminent opportunities to switch from providing data to providing information. The opportunities to improve diagnosis through more specific tests, e.g., molecular diagnostics and to develop tests for conditions such as neurological diseases for which there are inadequate tests.
  9. What are your predictions for advances in laboratory medicine and/or your area over the next ten years?
    See 8. above
  10. What do you see as the challenges facing young scientists in laboratory medicine?
    In academic laboratory medicine (and its subspecialties) the difficulty of trying to excel in all three main expected activities – service, research and teaching
  11. What specific goals would you recommend that young scientists in your discipline set for themselves? Any suggestions on how to achieve them?
    Identify a research field (basic or applied) that is not overly popular, but with a future, and become the local, then regional, national and international expert in this. Become visible to the medical staff during your training and subsequently. Demonstrate your knowledge to them. They want to do what is best for their patients and will appreciate your help.
  12. Describe how you have been able to give back or contribute to the organizations and the profession in general through your involvement in AACC.
    Through chairing the Board of Editors of Clinical Chemistry internationalizing the journal and deemphasizing its prior exclusive focus on analytical chemistry. Establishing the current organization of AACC and creation of Divisions Improving the interaction of AACC with clinical professional societies
  13. How did you get started in these organizations and what advice do you have for young people wanting to get involved?
    Working hard to become visible to individuals who could help one’s career (in effect, finding one’s own mentor if an individual involved with one’s training did not take on this responsibility). Volunteering for activities within one’s Local Section and/or in a Division is a good starting point within the AACC.
  14. Do you have any other specific comments or advice that you like to provide to the members of SYCL?
    During one’s training get out of the service laboratory as often as possible, become interested in the application of the numbers that you produce and volunteer the possible meaning of the results. Physicians, basically, appreciate help given to them that helps them manage their patients better.