Midstream and taking a new step

Jun 13, 2010

The last months, with a birthday milestone and the birth of baby Oliver, have been a fertile time of self-reflection (explained in this post from February). I’ve looked back on my first 40 years with satisfaction and gratitude, and turned my middle-aged eyes to see what stepping stones might be arranged before me for the next 40 (read this post to understand my ‘crossing the stream’ guide to life).

No mid-life crisis for me, thank you, very much. Still, mid-life is also mid-career.

On the heels of ScienceOnline2010, I had jotted down a description of an ideal job, encompassing social media and online community building and the license to roam a large institution looking for opportunities to teach, train, converse and capture stories. (David Thomas at SAS is an example for all of us with this dream.)

I was starting to get somewhere with my search for such an opportunity — more and more companies and communities and institutions will be creating such positions, I’m sure — when an opportunity of a different sort pulled me in.

Later this month, I will become director of communications for the Department of Medicine at the Duke University Medical Center, working with the new chair of the department, Mary Klotman, M.D. I’m thrilled to be joining her team.

This new job keeps me at Duke (I’ve been working for the Duke University Health System since 2007, as manager of internal communications) and is an opportunity to continue using my medical journalism masters degree and various communications experiences to tell the story of the Department of Medicine, which is the largest of the departments that make up the Duke School of Medicine.

With more than 1,000 physicians, faculty, researchers and staff treating patients, training residents and investigating diseases and new treatments, the Department of Medicine is going to be a perfect mid-river island for me to explore, map and mine. I’m sure I’ll use social media tools and strategies along the way.

I’m fortunate to have had a full and wide-ranging life so far, and am grateful to all the family, friends and mentors who have made it so memorable. Thanks for sharing this journey with me — next month, I’ll celebrate 10 years of blogging. Keep reading, please, as I share my experiences and observations, from Duke and beyond.

Anton Zuiker

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