The Way Forward with the Mentorship Program

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From left to right: Mitra Mahdavi-Mazdeh and her mentor Elmi Muller meet for the first time at the ESOT Congress in Glasgow

When I was asked to be a mentor for the Women in Transplantation (WIT) mentorship program, the first thought I had was that I am not experienced or senior enough to be a mentor. But after thinking about it, I decided to do it in any case: I had a great avenue of senior colleagues I could ask for help if I needed it. I have had a lot of support in my life from other specialists in my field and this has made a huge difference to me, so I accepted the invitation and a few weeks later I was sent the names of my 2 mentees.

What to do next was a simple question—I decided to write a very personal letter to them, introducing myself with the hope of getting to know each other. This was the start of a great friendship, which is in progress but will hopefully develop in the near future into a very special relationship.

I was privileged and excited when I heard one of my mentees, Mitra, was coming to Glasgow to attend the ESOT congress in September 2011. We arranged to meet and Mitra gave me a wonderful jewelry box from Iran, which reminds me of our special friendship every day. I am hoping that we can work together to firstly give her the chance to participate in a webinar from The Transplantation Society and then also to present a combined poster or mini-oral for the Berlin 2012 World Congress addressing some of the issues we both share as professionals working in developing countries.

The future is bright if we have friendships across international borders and we can address our issues as friends rather than on a formal level. The WIT group will be vital in this and I hope to have the opportunity to meet my other mentee, Eija, in the near future as well.

Elmi Muller

Elmi Muller: bending rules, changing guidelines, making history

“She's some woman!” comments my companion as we head out of the lecture theatre. It seems that few would disagree; a Google search for Elmi Muller turned up so many accolades—including South Africa's Woman of the Year 2011—that it's difficult to find her university web page. The Lancet had the pleasure of meeting Muller and her musicologist husband at a conference dinner—our conversation strayed from male circumcision, to composers, to organ playing (“when people talk about an operation being technically challenging”, says Muller, “they have never played a Bach fugue”). But it was not until Muller spoke at the At the Limits Nephrology conference that The Lancet realised how remarkable she is.

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