I grew up during the era of Superman. Even though I wasn’t a crazed collector of comics, or an avid fan of any one superhero, I loved the imaginative stories that involved powerful heroes. Those heroes were doing right for the world. I liked that.
Having a deep-seated passion for doing something right for the world is fundamental to the work of our alumni and faculty. They do not shy from difficult questions or from knotty problems.
As this issue’s cover makes clear, Harvard Medicine is celebrating the spirit of exploration and adventure by presenting stories of those who travel uncharted paths. These are tales of special people who, in the course of their everyday lives, do extraordinary things that in one way or another do right for the world.
Their adventures only occasionally happen at home. Researchers who search nature for new therapeutics or medical tools might start their explorations online but ultimately end up in a garden, on a seashore, or tramping through a tropical forest. Physicians might set up a practice, then find themselves working in the surgery of a nineteenth-century frigate or deep in the woods along the nation’s northern border, using medical science to unlock the reasons behind unexplained deaths. Or home might be the place where an adventurer returns after a life-altering experience that involves nearly 2,800 miles and a grueling test of physical stamina.
We also look at some of the contributions that HMS researchers and clinicians are making in the fight against Ebola; we consider the state of research funding and its possible ramifications on the discovery pipeline; and we contemplate the importance of clinical trials that involve children—and the burden that consent decisions bring to those children and their parents.
Stories of engagement, stories of discovery, stories of adventure all come to you in this issue of Harvard Medicine.
Image: John Soares