Kim Solez Futurist Poet Doc (With Alter Ego!) Nerd Nite November 28 2013


The clicker And poet’s stool very important here all right So I’m Kim Solez I am a physician at the University of Alberta hospital and I look at transplant biopsy slides under the microscope, and I established the worldwide system for categorizing the way you read those slides for all solid organs and what does that mean it means like kidney and liver and pancreas and small bowel and heart and Composite tissue Grafts, which is like hands and faces and stuff and You might think like that’s so interesting I wonder Yeah, but you see actually the problem with the presentation about that is like you can think of a spectrum of things that would interest you and you’d be entertained by actually valuable To you and the spectrum of things that I’d be talking about if I were to tell you all about solid organ Transplant Pathology tonight, and actually those two things don’t overlap at all So and that’s not what I plan to do what I plan to do is to tell you about various surprising and unexpected challenges I And in ways that I have found unique strategies or surprising strategies to deal with these challenges in my professional life and maybe Some of that would actually overlap with things that may be valuable to you because maybe you can find you know analogous things in your own life, so that’s the deal tonight and so okay, so Steve Jobs and he said the only way to do great work is to love what you do and You’ve not found it yet keep looking do not settle well I think you’ll sort of get the sense that I do enjoy what I do quite good quite a bit and probably thinking differently as he Recommended has something to do with the enjoyment of that so here are kind of like five different case studies of ways in Which I Think differently and I you’ll find these ideas interwoven In the story, I’m about to tell you First is the end is not the end did you ever thought of that or Empowering young people how cool is that a the power of poetry? Not being blindsided by the future and then this ancient concept of turtles all the way down and You may think that I think the turtles all the way down is like the coolest Concept ever and that I can keep your interests in that for many many minutes, but I actually don’t think so I think that because it’s of only transient interest You need something else and those two something else is our the idea of the musical spy being a spy on hot 107 young thinking and the polar opposite alter ego and That’s maybe something you hadn’t thought about could you find in your life Somebody who’s exactly the opposite of you and gain some insights into things that Way ok so now Who am I? Well, you know inside. I still feel like I’m this guy. This is me in 1991 in the video from the first Banff Classification meeting, and you know I may look a bit different, but I still feel like I’m [the] same guy Inside That was a very small meeting here is the Trans Canada Pipeline Pavilion the Banff Centre, which is the place that we held that meeting and It was a very natural meeting. We had mule deer coming to the door and trying to enter some conferences, so a true mixture of Nature and science and medicine Okay, and the poetry began innocently enough we just thought you know we need some entertainment and in 1999 we thought well why not? Poetry you know we’re no idea that this [was] going to change things in any way, but keep in mind this strategic choice of Poetry in 99 and [then] I got to like this idea that every two years I was doing this medical meeting Standardizing Transplant Pathology, I this was kind of cool and enjoyable, and I thought well Maybe I can branch out to other kinds of meetings So what about a meeting? around Leonard Cohen and How did that come about well I was in Scotland in 2002 and I was trying to interest people in my medical meeting and It just wasn’t working because it was the end of January around the time of Robbie Burns night And that’s all they wanted to talk about Robbie Burns night this year last year the brother did with her cousin did all that Stuff and they had no interest in talking about my stupid medical meeting and so I thought well, you know maybe if Robbie Burns is such a power and Scottish Culture, maybe We could have like Leonard Cohen nights to show the power of Canadian culture so I got back and started doing that and it likes it thousand times harder than running a Medical meeting you can’t find the funding you can’t find the people who would be interested I mean everything’s a shambles no, but anyway we persisted with it and in 2005 I met Leonard Cohen himself over a three-day weekend, then that November and He had some rather distinct feelings about me that I was not only surreal but he said see really surreal like I’m surreal over and over and over again and You know that he also thought that I didn’t realize this he was quite right I have no idea that I was being surreal and I brought along a robotic dog at that time and the dog tried to make Leonard Cohen one of his owner and tried to map Leonard Cohen’s kitchen as one of his special places and he learned Leonard Cohen’s voice as one of the master’s voices and we still the same dogs, so Yup, he that dog still exists so Keeping with this poetry theme then in 2006 I took a course in the faculty of medicine at the University Alberta called poetic medicine they have this art and humanities in in health and medicine project and that course was a part of that project and So I wrote my very first poem on November twentieth two thousand six the next year something very interesting happened and I want to tell you that this had two parts because when I tell [you] the first part say well That’s pretty dull actually Dr. Solez so in 2007 I’ve been I’ve been running for [ten] years something called NKF cyber nephrology and and there’s still a sign like that Many of the young people here look at that sign every day so um and this was a very well funded program supported by the National Kidney Foundation in the United States with a budget of about 400 thousand a year and We had full-time very [well] [trained] staff we had an IT professional with great deal of experience and We had a professional meeting organizer, and we had a secretary and in 2007 the National Kidney Foundation Told me that they couldn’t support any of this anymore But part two was they wished it to continue So they wanted me to keep things going. They just couldn’t fund it anymore So I thought well that’s a rather interesting challenge, and so I could not support any of these three highly paid professionals anymore But what they’ve been doing for 10, years was very well documented all the procedures all the templates were there So I thought what if we get students to do the same thing? so the students can kind of interweave this in between the time that they have to work on their courses and They can take time off for for exams and papers and stuff so make it you know Convenient for them don’t pay them [very] much, but they’ll still maybe benefit from this unique experience of doing this stuff that no students had done before and that’s kind of exactly what happened then so there on the left you see Tori Sheldon and She’s done very well she is now at the University of Toronto in a ph.d program in medical anthropology and then she mentored Another student that student mentored another student and so we have here tonight students who’ve been mentored by these two people and so Akshatha Raghuveer who’s now a medical student at the University of Alberta was was the second student who worked on these projects with me So what can you think as the downside of having people Smarter than you are and me who may have better careers than you Work for you at an earlier point in their career It’s like getting a famous artist painting before he’s famous, and yeah, so that that’s well [that’s] what really appealed to me about having students work for me that the intellectual ferment that could come from Their ideas, what would really be Exceptionally valuable and that has been the case over time and It seems to have been good for the students also as long as we gave their academic performance first priority and the [projects] second and so What could possibly go wrong what I’m about to tell you you may at first think this went wrong Because there was a young person central to it, but then if you think about it this could happen to anybody It had nothing to do with the fact that the young person was the central focus, and so what happened was initially this classification that I started with Lorraine Racusen in 1991 is called the Banff Classification and The meetings are called the Banff meetings and are initially we thought that the world out there thought that Banff was a town and Because they thought Banff was a town we had to have the meetings in that town But eventually we learned that we had co-opted we would taken over the word Banff and now most people in medicine believe this is a Medical acronym it must stand for something you have to write it in all caps and they had no idea that it was a town and Even some people thought the second f is not silent so rather than banf it’s banfffffffff you know so and anyway there are all sorts of misconceptions, but this led to the idea that we could have these Banff meetings anywhere in the world that we wanted to and so in 2011 We had the meeting in Paris and in 2013 this year we had the meeting in brazil or we were trying to have the meeting in Brazil but Toward the end of July something happened which threatened the entire meeting process The student you see there in the far right Akshatha Raghuveer held all the knowledge for the meeting the knowledge of everybody’s travel their Reimbursement plans that they’re there You know agenda while they were there Who was speaking when the booking of all the rooms she uniquely knew everything well not you, but There were other students who knew some of this but she knew more about it than anyone else and The idea of her not being able to go to the meeting was going to be a big big problem Why wouldn’t she be able to go? So in order to go to Brazil as most of you know you need a Visa so she sent her passport to the Brazilian consulate and they installed a visa in her passport and They sent her passport back By Fedex she had sent it three by Fedex. They sent it back by Fedex and it arrived at the loading dock of a hospital and the Fedex package was signed for in legible handwriting by an identifiable employee Working in the loading dock University of Alberta hospital All good so far, right? Except that It then disappeared for five Days and the loading dock claimed they had delivered it and they have this Manifest you’re familiar with these manifests were at least destinations of packages and the people who receive the packages can put a signature there when when they [receive] the package The only problem with this manifest was there was no signature because they had never successfully delivered it to us, but they claim they added there seemed to be no amount of charming behavior or threats or Anything we could do [that] would change their mind They claimed they had delivered the passport and we didn’t have it and Akshatha this crucial Person who knew everything about the meeting was not going to be able to go to Brazil And so it seemed like an insoluble problem and so at 4am on July Thirty-first 2013 I got up and I wrote this poem All Akshatha asks for is her passport back Good morning dear master of the loading dock all Akshatha asks for is her passport back was delivered here by Fedex five days ago, and now where is it We want to know not to have it is a very low blow for The 250 people all set to go to the meeting in Brazil setting medical standards worldwide Which Akshatha has organized with Great pride She’s arranged for doctors all over the world to come together to set medical standards bold at my meeting now in its 22nd year, so please loading dock Master put search in High Gear You sign for the passport please Make it appear. We can all relax finally when you bring it right here this one Fedex package holds the key to medical progress Globally, (I’m not actually sure that’s true. But it sounded darn good in the poem you know) important packages come here every day, but Akshatha’s Fedex package is especially Important to us all so please check Every rack all Akshatha asks for is her passport back So I sent that poem To the guy who works in the loading dock. I don’t know that he’s literate I don’t really know if he reads poetry or if he reads the email But you know the fascinating thing about Alberta Health Services these days is the ultimate Supervisor of people is is Very frequently at a different building in a different hospital And I asked who was the ultimate boss of this guy is a very powerful person and I sent him the poem too and within 90 minutes the passport had been found and Akshatha was on her way to Brazil and everything was good now this Meant for me that my poetry had found I’d found my voice in my poetry you know before then I thought maybe a poem you’d write It’s intended for one person That person may or may not like it And you know so every poem you write is vulnerable now suddenly. I found an Enthusiastic audience for my poems a full spectrum of people and I felt for the first time that poetry Can make changes in life when nothing else could I I don’t know of anything else that [could] have unearthed unearthed Akshatha’s passport So and I wasn’t quiet about this. it wasn’t like my little secret I was so happy about this that I told the other people going to the meeting about it and So they decided if I was talking so much about this that they could request poetry of me and this included on the way to the meeting so many of us went through the city of Brasilia and in Brasilia a young Nephro Pathologist Lynn Cornell Requested a layover poem Dr.. Solez a layover poem while we’re in Brasilia so in about a half hour I wrote this poem and I don’t know if you’ll feel that this Relates to any experience you’ve had, but I hope it does Poetry and the Shrunken Brain Jet Lag gives the brain a shrink so one cannot quite normally think but just like alcohol may lead to cleverness Jet lag could leave the house some everness. They could be just the thing a poem needs The outcome is uncertain because one must also Factor in the Hungry Brain the Thirsty Brain not to mention the Tired and Unshaven Brain and the Wearing Yesterday’s Clothes Brain The Aim should be to produce a poem super completely unlike its unkempt author a poem that becomes increasingly Alert and ungreasy with time Thus counterbalancing the Progressive dishevelment of the guy writing the poem the cleaned up and showered poem and fresh clothes and Rested is a desirable endpoint here to be tested, … and since that time and you realize the time between july thirty-first and now is a very brief period I Have written a lot of poems and one of the reasons for that is the spectrum of the audience is here this is Akshatha Rhaguveer’s Younger Sister Adithi, and that’s my father and they are the age spectrum of people liking the poems and So that this has kind of been inspiring for me I teach a course on the technological singularity I’ve been interested in the singularity and music and so this Is interesting It’s the idea of what Machines can do when they’ll be smarter than we are machines. Can’t yet write music That’s as good as we can but it can identify successful musical artists better than we can and so I became interested in the idea of becoming aware of the new music the music of young people and so I began listing to the radio Station hot 107 I Think none of you in this audience You’re all way too cool probably to listen to hot 107 but the number of people listening to hot 107 [the] caters to young people in Edmonton is much larger than whoever listens to the radio station you listen to and so Do you know on hot 107 every Friday? They identify somebody who likes them on Facebook and they named the radio station after them and we are planning such a gigantic Celebration on the day that they named the radio station after me because they have no idea That there any old people or physicians listening Now we have this idea of animals all turtles all the way down as something that would inspire People to think about the way that their own sector of activity relates to the world at large But you know as I pointed out that analogy only works for you for just a little while And then your [eyes] start to glaze over and stuff so we need something better, and that is the idea of the alter ego So I’m introducing you here to David Crippen now in 1994 David Crippen and I did similar things critical care medicine he began all the internet resources the email discussion groups and stuff in that area of medicine in the same at the same time period I began the Internet resources in Kidney medicine But we are otherwise as different as any two people could have been. I was a very boring young person Except I got good grades He in the 60s and 70s anything that your mind may trigger its characteristic of the 60s and 70s He was deeply within it he had long hair he knew all about drugs and groupies. He He he went to Woodstock all these things I didn’t do and in his email discussion group They talked about everything under the sun they talk about politics They have humor they have lots of off talk topic discussion and they have characters People who you really look forward to them coming [back]. We don’t have any characters We don’t talk about anything except kidney medicine. He’s won many military awards But not a single civilian award. I’ve won lots of civilian awards. I’ve never been in the military. He has his own Rock band He has many vintage motorcycles He’s written many books about his life. I haven’t written any books about my life. I’ve no band I don’t have a motorcycle and as I said I was a very boring Young person there you see a picture of me at my high school graduation with my physician father straightening my tie and my physician grandfather looking on I guess I’ve got good genes with all those doctors in the family But otherwise I was a very dull young person so now this idea of the polar opposite alter ego It may surprise you how is it working? How would you know [if] it’s working and This I think is the clue at this meeting in Brazil and I was telling you about I Spoke a lot about the difference between me and David [Crippen] how if you want to conceptualize how? different the future of Transplant Pathology is From the history you’ve known up to now think of the difference between what things would have been like if David Crippen had been in charge as Compared to me and there you would [have] it and by telling those stories The people came to believe that David [Crippen] did not exist and this was the coolest thing because when you convert a metaphor to a myth that I think it really proves the metaphor has worked and So now this is [the] time that maybe you were looking for when you can interrogate me about these thinking different ideas and You know if you don’t interrogate me there are other things of what happened, so either way the program continues So interrogate away Any questions Dave David Griffin, this is very real. Yeah. He’s the head of Neurocritical care at the University of Pittsburgh the other thing that might interest you of course is the fact that he and I would not enjoy each other’s company We had a very brief Skype conversation once and he was bored and and I was bored you know because we don’t share the same interests and Yet. He’s very enthusiastic Think about this idea of you know the alter ego. Just like I suppose. I’m living a kind of life that I never lived by Conceptualising his life so for instance his Girlfriend looked in the I told him he was a loser right before he got drafted he had terrible grades terrible References, how did he get into medical school at the University of Georgia He was interviewed by a powerful person Who thought well you know there’s something about this guy that has promise and even though He’s [got] lousy grades and terrible references And he flunked out of one college and was thrown out of another for administrative problems What’s the worst good would that could happen if just once in the history of the school We took somebody who doesn’t fit any of the criteria and made them a medical student anyway What’s the worst that could happen so that’s what happened? They took him and the rest is history So and that’s very different from a much more interesting of course in the story of my own life other questions Yes, yeah No, I [I] think it. I think it helps I I think They’re there are a lot of things that give me unique access to people. I need I’ve been generating consensus worldwide now for 22 years in order to do that you need to be Using cutting-edge communications and and to kind of know where The tech world is is is going and straddling these various disciplines I think is [the] best way that I know of stay in touch with all those various Sectors, I would say from my perception that it’s working very well, I I don’t know what the students think they’re here they Can tell you what it is like from their point of view the other thing is when you think about you know empowering young people and and Assuming that the person who’s working with you is much younger than you are But is probably smarter than you are and has more promise than then you that that’s very exciting on both ends Yeah, I met but it but I think that that’s kind of the way. I’ve I’ve always looked at things and so Because I felt they have such potential promise If we need a period of time where no work is done on my projects because they they have exams or whatever that’s just absolutely fine and and that that approach nothing that I’m doing requires them to do something every day every week and of course in the summer in in the holiday breaks they they work very hard and They’re very Enthusiastic because they sense you’re doing something no other young person anywhere in the world is actually doing stuff like that so That’s kind of how it works! Thank you fabulous I met him a few months ago and the idea of thinking about yourself as the exact opposite of yourself and Thinking about what that person will be thinking and doing Gives you a new position ality about how you can approach the world fabulous just think about that think about like if instead of you’re gonna write in that lab report or sorry in addition to You were a poll that lab report what you can do because [of] that is just so exciting. It’s really interesting all right

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