The Great Researchers: Part 1

Bookstore? Veterinary Clinic?

What’s  it like to work with those Great Investigators?

Beats the hell out of me–I never really worked with them. Not that that´s a problem–from the small number of them whom I did meet, I was, well, res ipsa loquitor.

The Beginning

It was my first visit to the country of S, before I had my Masters in Public Health. I was going to work on a project involving a certain disease, known locally as Eeeeeee , prevalent in the Ccccccc area. I had a training a grant a professor had helped me obtain, and I studied up on what I thought I would be doing while I left my family for seven weeks (not a popular decicision) and went to work with people I didn´t know, in a country I had never visited, with an understanding of a language that on a good day could be described as rudimentary. You have to understand that other than leaving my family, all of the aforementioned I considered good things. New country? New knowledge? New people? What a change from the rut of the routine that I had worried would characterize the rest of my professional life, which, given how young my kids are and how much university education is going to cost, appeared (and still appears) to be a long, long time.

The  Professor and I had discussed what I was going to do. I was going to examine the role of domestic animals in the movement of disease and its vectors. I was to work with an  biostatistician who had published a lot of papers on  the epidemiology of the disease and was head of the project down there. There was also a  scientist from ?/?, who had very clear ideas of the way pretty much everything in the world should work. She also holds the distinction of being one of the top five rudest people I’ve ever met in my life.

First Lesson Learned?

In retrospect, I should have gone to meet these people before I went down there. Or maybe it should have been explained more clearly what sort of control they were to have over what I was doing. I was a neophyte in these manners. I had spent the last 15 or so years treating animals for the diseases and conditions that they had. I had only finished my coursework for my MPH a couple of months before. I have to admit to not knowing exactly how these things worked. But I had–and still have–enormous trust in both the knowledge and intentions of the  Professor.

Part 2 coming soon….

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