SUS Presidential Session: Gretchen Schwarze, MD
Finding Purpose in Data
The SUS Presidential Session was started by Dr. Gretchen Schwarze.
Finding Purpose in Data (or why I do what I do)
Take home points:
Study what pisses you off
Follow the data
Don’t skip steps
There is always a work around
She learned this mantra from Dr. Emily Finlayson. Dr. Schwarze described her journey as to how she arrived at doing the research she is currently doing. As a resident she was transplanting the hearts of pigs. She felt like she was planting grass, watching it grow, and then watching it die. She finished training and knew she did not want to do lab research, so she started looking for a private practice job. However, due to great support in her first job she was encouraged to do the ethics fellowship at the University of Chicago.
When her husband finished his transplant fellowship they went to the University of Wisconsin. Her colleague Dr Rachelle Bernaki said to her “Why do surgeons have such a hard time withdrawing life- support on their patients “. This was a question she really wanted to evaluate, so she did a pilot study of 10 surgeons and discussed surgical buy in with them. She presented this data as a poster for her SUS new member poster. Dr. Jeff Mathews came by and suggested she look into evaluating what surgeons say to patients. This was the start of her journey in studying patient-doctor communication. She truly had to figure out how to begin this field of research. Although her “best case/worst case” intervention has caught on, there is still a lot of work to do.
“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them “ Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nobel Peace Prize and President of Liberia, inspired her.