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From addiction to curriculum design to major career transitions ?

Julia Araujo

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Hello dear colleagues!

Following up our introduction posts, here we go with Dr. Ashley Horner's amazing idea for discussion!

For a moment, I just though on how much I could connect "addiction", "curriculum design" and "major career transitions”. Indeed, those are topics which may seem to be not that much related. Of course, my point could be on our colleague's own meeting post. After all, she was the one to present to us an incredibly fascinating life journey that already brings the trio along. (I loved to hear about her story!) Although, bringing up my own passion for interdisciplinarity, I would like to share a bit of it by summarising those three topics as a single text. Shall we go?

Academically speaking, the study of “addiction” can contemplate Chemistry, Biology and Sociology throughout its development. Seen as major areas, for an instance, they can become Biochemistry, Neuroscience and Ethics: altogether in the development of a scientific research. 

The subjects chosen might not be of my understanding. (Please, Dr. Horner, help me with your expertise!) Nonetheless, my post ought to get us visualizing a path. In other words, from a major area to their specialisations, one travels to an unique and incredible design of a curriculum, of a life journey unique as much as it only represents this single person’s biography.

Sometimes, in fact, our transitions in career - our brushes that paint, in a different trajectory, the curriculum that is being designed - condense challenges and setbacks. Although, we pick up the pieces of topics to be discussed and learned just to find ourselves in the midst of a community of Neuroscience passionates from plural curriculums and careers. 

For an instance, the transition in the text’s content can lead us to thinking how apart we actually are from change - from the mountains climbed and the rivers crossed - and from Chemistry, Biology and Sociology that shall be split, transitioned and designed into the components that paint this text.

My own passion for interdisciplinarity, particularly, relates the reasoning of areas subjacent to Neuroscience as it is our common goal in SfN. Furthermore, newer views of “addiction" (e.g.) can come from a different career, from a curriculum that contemplates more of Maths, Physics and Chemistry into our classrooms. For that matter, it’s about our cultural (background) diversity - here at the group of Community Leaders - that makes it possible to get three single topics and amplify them into a three-dimensional discussion as I ask you all: what do you have to say?

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Kristen Ashley Horner

Hey Guys! 

Apologies for a late reply---I've been out of the office, but now I'm back in the house ?.

Julia---I love what you've said here and how you've put connected these topics! I think a three-dimensional interdisciplinary discussion, as you've described, is a great idea.

The study of addiction most certainly involves chemistry---think neurochemical changes that might occur in the context of addiction (diminished tyrosine hydroxylase activity, alterations in receptors) and biology, where you see changes in the biological system as a result of addiction (for example, certain pathways, like the mesolimibic system might see more activity during the addictive process), and of course, sociology, as addiction rarely impacts just the individual experiencing it, but will end up affecting the entire community.  And of course, all of these areas converge to produce the product that we see---a person that is suffering from a chronic disease.  I think the more perspectives that we weave into the discussion--even from areas that we might not even think would be related, like Math (but think about computational neuroscience, which to me seems math-related and relies on computer modeling), the better equipped we are to find new answers.

Now that I've transitioned into curriculum design, I feel a little like Dorothy in the movie The Wizard of Oz, when Toto the Dog pulls back the curtain at the Emerald Palace to reveal that the Wizard of Oz is actually some little man pulling the switches behind the scenes....in other words, I'm starting to see what really goes on behind the scenes in a medical school curriculum, especially when it's being built "from scratch".  Speaking of which---I've got to run to a Curriculum design meeting right now (apparently building a new curriculum involves LOTS of meetings lol), but I'd love to continue to discuss this more!  

I'll catch y'all later on!

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