is the Founder and Director of The Ellen Shaw de Paredes
Institute for Women's Imaging, Glen Allen, VA; and a Clinical
Professor of Radiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville,
VA. She is also a member of the Editorial Board of this
Itruly loved, and still love, many aspects of academia. The joy
of teaching and of seeing the product of that work as one of my
former residents goes out into the real world and makes a
difference is unparalleled. The daily routine of a heavy clinical
load, teaching, trying to work on a research project, writing, and
administrative roles was punctuated by these wonderful moments of
seeing a consult case coming across my desk with a "great call"
made by a former resident.
Despite these positive moments, times can change and they did.
It was time for me to leave the university and step out into a new
sphere--private practice. My goal was to develop a world-class
breast center that would encompass clinical and intellectual
activi-ties--a place where we could take excellent care of
patients, where I could teach, do some research, and raise the bar
of awareness about breast cancer.
Accomplishing this goal has required taking risks, and I equate
it with the time when I was a child taking swimming lessons. I had
to climb up to the diving board and jump into the deep end of the
pool. It was scary on the way up and exhilarating after the plunge
into the chilly water.
I opened the center three months ago and have found the
experience to be educational, challenging, exciting, and, above
all, an opportunity freely use my creativity to accomplish my goal.
I have learned much about the value of friendship in this
Anna Quindlen, in her book
A Short Guide to a Happy Life
, describes the importance of appreciating each day fully, and she
reminds us to "look at the view." In my decision to leave the
security of the university and to create this unique environment, I
realized that I was able to appreciate many aspects of life more
fully--suddenly, spring was more beautiful than I ever remembered
This experience has validated for me that, although no place is
perfect, it is so important to be happy in one's work. If you
aren't happy, make a change for the better, for you and your
family. Your whole life will be better.
As I left the university, I received many calls and letters, one
of which was written by one of our fourth-year residents. I framed
that letter and it hangs on the wall of my new office. He wrote "I
thank you for taking a leap of faith, showing all of your
residents/col-leagues that there are times in life that require
stepping outside your comfort zone and trusting not only in
yourself but in those around you." Those words inspire me each