Mauro Schenone, MD
Institution: Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota)
Medical School: University of Carabobo, Venezuela
Residency: Wayne State University
Fellowship Training Institution: University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Tell us about someone who had an influence on you as child. My parents and, particularly, my mother—a perinatologist with a contagious interest and passion for the maternal and fetal fields—had the biggest influence on my decision to pursue a career in medicine.
What was your first job and how did it prepare you for your current position? My first job as a physician took place while completing a year of rural medical work in Venezuela, my country of birth. Practicing medicine as a young physician in an underserved area with extreme levels of poverty and crime rates taught me many lessons, including the importance of stewardship, humility, resilience, gratitude, survival skills, and non-conformity. A non conformity approach when facing the usual “can’t be done” for our patients.
How did the diversity (or lack of diversity) in your medical educators shape your training? Diversity has always been a part of my life. As a second-generation son of immigrants in Venezuela, I felt in some ways a foreigner in my birth country. Now, I am a first-generation immigrant in the United States and experience what my grandparents went through when they uprooted and migrated to another country.
My upbringing was quite diverse, within a community of relatives and close friends embodying various racial, religious, and socioeconomic identities. My medical school teachers, mentors and peers were not an exception to this rule.
I was raised with a deep respect for every human being regardless of their identity, making it easier to empathize with those around me - first seeking to understand rather than be understood.
Was there a mentor(s) and/or a patient who inspired you? I did my residency in a program rich in diversity, from faculty and trainees to patients, full of MFM giants that inspired me to pursue a fellowship. I am so grateful to call several of those giants, my mentors. Located in Detroit’s downtown area, the hospital where we worked had a large, underserved population with colossal socio-economic challenges. The city’s enduring inequities challenged me to help patients overcome obstacles and deliver the highest level of care while connecting with the human being in front of me, recognizing the hardships they faced.
What role has SMFM played in your career? My first SMFM annual meeting more than 10 years ago, was the most influential in my career, it inspired me to become a better physician, researcher and educator. Every year since, I look forward to coming to the place that energizes and renews my inspiration and commitment to advance medicine for the benefit of our patients. I believe I have only missed one year since my first SMFM.
How has your cultural background shaped you as an MFM? Migrating to a new country and learning a new language helped me understand—at least in part—the many struggles of patients who are recent immigrants and face a language barrier. I feel grateful when I can connect with patients in their native language and build strong connections in the moments when they need utmost clarity regarding their health issues and management options.