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Teaching me to teach

Updated: Jul 6, 2019


Today, Dr. Mark Talamonti came to SIU as visiting professor and gave a great talk on Pancreas Cancer.  Here is my introduction to his talk:

Yesterday, several of the residents in the audience participated in our Residents as Teachers program, where through simulation, PGY2s learned how to be more effective teachers of their students, of their patients, and specifically worked on mastering the art of teaching technical skills.

Today, I would like to introduce Dr. Mark Talamonti, an individual who during my formative years has served not only as a friend, mentor, and sponsor, but as a coach, teaching me how to teach.

During case presentations, you may have heard Dr. Sturm describe the 360 degree clockwise approach to the head of the pancreas, but when I am there, doing it, right angle in hand, I still hear the rhythm of Talamonti in my head, narrating:

Middle colic to SMVRight gonadal to left renalAnd most importantly, as you reconstruct and place interrupteds, sew towards yourself... Tie away.

When I've had a leftie struggle with the hepaticoJ, I've emailed him for tips for next time, only to get an emphatic response:

Do NOT let the resident switch sides. Make them turn their feet and sew!

And when I acknowledge patient families, I speak with intention, and sometimes find myself impersonating him... "That is a terrific question."

Mark Talamonti is a terrific coach and optimist and advocate for his patients, and has dedicated his career to be an expert at treating pancreas cancer. He is an Illinois native who played football at John Carroll University prior to attending Northwestern for his MD and surgical residency.

He completed his Surgical Oncology fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center, then returned to Northwestern, where he quickly ranked to Professor of Surgery and Chief of Surgical Oncology. For the last 11 years he has been the Stanton and Margaret Rogers Palmer Chairman of Surgery at NorthShore University Health System and is Vice Chair of Surgery at University of Chicago. He has been formative in prior NCCN advisory panels for pancreas cancer and as a medical advisor for the Pancreas Cancer Action Network. Besides serving on numerous editorial boards and national committees, he is the President of the prestigious Western Surgical Association.  It is my honor to introduce: Dr. Mark Talamonti.

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