Is your niche too narrow? Too wide? It doesn’t matter.

Academics care about being in a niche.  A person only has 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  It’s practically impossible to be the world expert in everything.

Some days I worry that my interest in informatics is too narrow.  So tell me again, why wouldn’t anyone just hire either a dedicated radiologist or a dedicated informaticist?  What’s the point of you?

Some days I worry my niche is too broad. Because that’s basically all of radiology, you dimwit!  That inner voice in my head would scream.   How can you expect to understand all of what makes my profession tick, all the intricacies behind every segmentation algorithm, every big-data challenge, every line of code?  Give it up.

And then there are days when I spend 8 hours doing something I want to do, and the day feels 20 minutes long.  Days when I feel tired but satisfied, proud to have made those career choices.

These are the days when that voice doesn’t speak.


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Howard Chen
Vice Chair for Artificial Intelligence at Cleveland Clinic Diagnostics Institute
Howard is passionate about making diagnostic tests more accurate, expedient, and affordable through disciplined implementation of advanced technology. He previously served as Chief Informatics Officer for Imaging, where he led teams deploying and unifying radiology applications and AI in a multi-state, multi-hospital environment. Blog opinions are his own and in no way reflect those of the employer.

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