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Division of Anatomic Pathology Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic
Assistant professor of laboratory medicine and pathologyVIEW PROFILE
Melanie Bois, M.D. (MED ’12, PATH ’16, CPTH ’17, CYPAT ‘18), grew up steeped in all things Mayo. Her father, Steven Buskirk, M.D. (RADO ’83; chair, Department of Radiation Oncology, Mayo Clinic Florida), trained at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and has been on staff at Mayo Clinic in Florida since 1987 after having practiced in Kansas. Dr. Bois was determined that medicine would not be her default career choice but says nothing else fulfilled her curiosity. She was equally determined that life with subzero temperatures wouldn’t be part of her life, but she was drawn to the Mayo mission and values she grew up with. On staff at Mayo Clinic in Rochester for less than a year, Dr. Bois is a rising star in pathology. She was recently named a Top 40 Under 40 honoree by the American Society for Clinical Pathology and named to the Top 100 Power List from The Pathologist.
“Working at Mayo has bolstered my academic career in ways I didn’t think possible.”
I interviewed mostly in the Southeast because I grew up in Florida. Minnesota winters weren’t on my bucket list. Of course, I was familiar with Mayo Clinic because of my dad. As I learned more about medicine and other medical institutions, I was surprised that not all of them operate under the same values as Mayo. The impetus for my career choice was to help patients, and Mayo Clinic’s core values were the best fit for me.
I met my husband John Bois, M.D. (MED ’09, I ’12, CV ’16, CVAD ’17, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine), in medical school. I wanted to stay for residency and fellowship at Mayo to continue to learn from the tremendous teachers I’d already had in medical school. And my husband was in fellowship at Mayo.
Although I never envisioned living in Minnesota, now I love having four seasons. The people in Rochester are amazingly kind and genuine.
I considered radiology, psychiatry and pediatrics. In my first year of medical school, pathology wasn’t even on my radar, but my pathology teachers at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine were phenomenal. They eloquently explained the pathophysiology of disease, which drew me to the specialty. Pathology satisfied my curiosity of how and why disease and illness happen to patients and sparked my interest in pursuing more advanced questions through research.
Pathology is very dynamic and is present in many areas of a medical center. I’m focused on anatomic pathology. We review biopsies and specimens, make histologic diagnoses and perform autopsies. Pathologists have less direct patient care than most specialties, but we have a significant influence on patient care. I love the team approach with our clinical colleagues at Mayo discuss with us what we see under the microscope and its impact on patient care.
I was raised with a strong work ethic and motivated by my strong interest in patient care. I have been fortunate to have fantastic mentorship to help develop my early career, specifically, Joseph Maleszewski, M.D. (CPATH ’10, MGP ’14), and Marie Christine Aubry, M.D (SGPA ’00), both in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology.
I’m proud to have made it to this point in my career. It’s been a long path and required commitment and sleepless nights. When I began training 14 years ago, the courses and exams felt endless. Family and mentorship were key to getting through it.
It’s challenging, exciting, demanding and a privilege. I’m fortunate and humbled to practice with mentors who taught me pathology. I’m developing a sense of autonomy and independence in practice.
I’m also incredibly grateful to be able to work at Mayo. We see huge volume and diversity of cases through our in-house practice and through Mayo Clinic Laboratories clients. The more I see, the better I understand the pathophysiology of disease and how it manifests in our patients. This, in turn, fosters research opportunities. Working at Mayo has bolstered my academic career in ways I didn’t think possible.
My husband and daughter, age 1, are the center of my life. My parents visit Minnesota often, and I love spending time with them. In the summer I enjoy gardening, and reading has always been a respite for me. Eventually I want to take up a winter sport.
It’s challenging. I often feel the pressure of competing demands. I love the time when I’m at work that allows me to serve and give back to the community. I also love the time I’m home with family. I try to be present for both activities.
See past New Chapter stories here.