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When sickness interrupts science

2018 (Jan. 10). Nature. Emily Sohn. When sickness interrupts science. How to balance a long-term illness and a research career.

Click here to read this article on Nature.com

FOCUS ON THE ESSENTIALS

Navigating a research career along with a chronic illness, say many researchers, requires zeroing in on what is most essential. Leonard Jason, a psychologist who was diagnosed in 1989 with myalgic encephalopathy/chronic fatigue syn­drome (ME/CFS), realized that he needed to be strategic about his work and careful not to over­tax himself. His approach has led to recognition, including awards for excellence in research and, at one point, a position on a US federal panel advising about research on ME/CFS. He recommends that scientists pursue the work that matters most to them. “The reality is that you can’t do it all,” says Jason, of DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. “Prioritization is absolutely critical when one is in a dimin­ished state. If it’s trivial and you don’t care about it, let it go.”


Leonard A. Jason is a professor of clinical and community psychology at DePaul University, director of the Center for Community Research, and the author of Principles of Social Change and co-editor of the Handbook of Methodological Approaches to Community-Based Research: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods.


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