|October 2010, Issue 8|
Dr. Richard Glazier began his career as a family physician in the 1980’s in the small Ontario communities of Whitby and Oshawa just east of Toronto. After a very fulfilling three month locum that lasted six years, he decided that he wanted to have a larger impact on the field of primary care. A self proclaimed generalist, Dr. Glazier explains that although he "never once contemplated a [medical] sub specialty, somehow research became the answer to [his] desire to accomplish something very tangible" in the field of primary care.
“I don't know why I latched onto research” Dr. Glazier explains, “as there were very few family medicine researchers at the time, no role models, and no mentors". When I inquired if his own struggles of breaking into the field of primary care research as a family physician motivated him to become one of the Department of Family and Community Medicine’s most active research mentors, he expressed that much like his research career, it almost seemed like this role found him, instead of the other way around. He elaborated by explaining that “it is still very, very rare in our discipline that you find people who really want to do research. When you do they are often interested in training, but don’t know what the training programs are or how to get started. Having forged this path myself with only a few colleagues it meant that when someone went looking for help or advice they would eventually call me up".
Despite the very organic origins of his mentorship career, Dr. Glazier's continued support and guidance (to sometimes as many as ten mentees at a time), is now more of a formal commitment. As a testament to his mentorship abilities, many of his mentees have gone on to become leading primary care researchers and valued colleagues in what is described as an extremely challenging field where rejection (of grant applications and manuscripts for publication) is a common occurrence. When asked further about his motivations for his continued mentorship, Dr. Glazier quickly responded, “for me it’s not only about being able to help people with their career choices but also to really see them flourishing in their career and to see people finish their PhDs, get a Career Scientist Award, publish in high impact journals; to have the sort of thrill and rewards of what is a really difficult thing".
Dr. Glazier also took this opportunity to highlight the many benefits he has received from his role as a mentor, reminding me that mentorship is a two way street. “Mentorship enriched my career greatly. It has helped me build a web of professional relationships, and enabled me to work collaboratively with a lot of different and fascinating people with expertise in all sorts of areas. Mentorship has also helped me expand my reach into the academic community in Toronto both on campus, and in all the hospital research institutes in Toronto.” When looking at the number of studies and publications Dr. Glazier has been involved with, he explained that “although mentorship takes time, you would never be able to accomplish as much on your own in the same amount of time that it takes for you to be a mentor”.
Dr. Glazier was awarded the Inaugural Research Mentorship Award by the Department of Family and Community Medicine in March 2010. If you are interested in becoming a research mentor or mentee, please contact Dr. Paul Krueger at email@example.com or the DFCM Research Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.