“The learning never stops, and medicine is ever-evolving.”
This is the most valuable thing that Mingjun Song, MBBS, MRCP (Edin), M.Med, has learned during her three years as a fellow in gastroenterology at IU.
It makes sense that she would feel that way, given her career path thus far. Song was born in Shenyang, a city in northeast China, and immigrated to Singapore with her parents as a child. She attended medical school at the National University of Singapore and then practiced medicine there for six years. During her gastroenterology fellowship in Singapore, she married a childhood friend, who had just started his residency in the United States. Then, after passing the GI accreditation exam in Singapore, she immigrated to join him here, and they started their family together.
“I often imagine myself as a hobbit who left her comfortable warm burrow in the Shire for a huge travel adventure after finding a (wedding) ring,” Song said.
Faced with another round of medical training in the US, Song said she was tempted to become a hospitalist and skip completing a second gastroenterology fellowship.
“But I decided a happy long career is more important, so I applied for GI again,” she said. “I wanted to train in a large program covering large academic hospitals and IU has that, in addition to having a good reputation in Singapore.” (Incidentally, she added, her mentors in Singapore were IU-trained in endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP.)
Now, Song has a good reputation at IU.
“Everything about Dr. Song is impressive,” said Nabil Fayad, MD.
“MJ is ‘the bomb,’” agreed Monika Fischer, MD, MSc, FACG, AGAF.
According to Fischer, who is the director of the division’s inflammatory bowel disease and fecal microbiota transplantation programs, Song is “the most hardworking, diligent, devoted, and enthusiastic fellow you ever meet."
She added, “Her endurance and resilience should be taught in medical school and should be set an example to all human beings. She's my role model.”
Fayad, who is the director of the gastroenterology fellowship program, also described Song as hardworking, conscientious, extremely efficient and responsible.
“She is a superb teacher and her presentations are of the caliber of renowned experts. She is also able to maintain a great balance between her personal and professional obligations,” he said.
Despite this high praise, Song is humble. She said that her proudest accomplishment during fellowship is “making it to the final year while being a decent mom and wife!”
After she graduates in July, she plans to pursue academic medicine and meaningful clinical research.
She also hopes to make time for travel again, which was a big part of her life before becoming a mother, she said.
“I traveled all around the world; ate some crazy food (fresh live sea urchin just fished out from the ocean in Taiwan, anybody?); rode elephants in an Indonesian rainforest; paraglided in Malaysia over a sea a poisonous jellyfish; rode horses by the seashore in Melbourne; and snorkeled in Maldives,” she said. “I can't wait for my kids to get big enough so I can restart my bucket list for travel adventures."