In 1996, radiologist Donna Magid, MD, MEd, suddenly found herself standing before a roomful of Johns Hopkins medical students. “The gentleman who was in charge of teaching the radiology elective got unexpectedly ill on a Friday, and I was told on Monday when I walked in that I was in charge of the medical students,” she says. “I realized in 5 or 10 minutes that it was going to be the best thing I’d ever do.”
Students soon started to come to her for advice, which Magid was more than happy to give. Before long she’d adopted a second role: mentor. “There were a few people who mentored me in medical school who really changed the direction of my career,” she says. “They had done so much for me, I thought I had to do something for other people.”
Magid is a constant presence in her students’ lives from day one of medical school until they leave for their residency. Her advice ranges from reminders when application deadlines loom to cautions about questionable content on their social media sites that prospective employers might see.
She’s launched two computer-based tools to help her students succeed. TeamRads is a website compendium of resources they need to ace their radiology courses. Apps of Steel is a document that steers students through the tricky residency application process. “It’s things like a list of some of the weirdest questions my students have been asked in interviews,” she says. “I want to weigh the odds in my students’ favor.”
Students often tell Magid how much her efforts have meant to them. “They will look at me and say, ‘You have changed my life.’” Yet she says her greatest reward comes when they pay her advice forward. “I’m here temporarily. My students and residents are the future. If I want the future to be good, I have to enable them."
Donna Magid, MD, MEd, is professor of radiology, orthopaedic surgery, and functional anatomy at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is also director of the elective in radiology.