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Mentor of the Month Interview

Dr. Marc Couturier

Marc Couturier

We had the pleasure to interview Dr. Marc Couturier, medical director of Microbial Immunology, Parasitology and Fecal Testing, and Infectious Disease Rapid Testing at ARUP. He is also an assistant professor of pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. 

Dr. Couturier received his PhD in medical microbiology and immunology with specialty in bacteriology from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He served as a research associate/post-doctoral fellow at the Alberta Provincial Laboratory for Public Health and completed a medical microbiology fellowship (ABMM) at the University of Utah. He is board certified in medical microbiology, and a member of the American Society for Microbiology and Infectious Disease Society of America. 

Dr. Couturier has research experience in the field of H. pylori pathogenesis, and is now investigating the prevalence of this pathogen in a poorly defined population in Utah. In addition to defining the local prevalence, Dr. Couturier is actively working to identify sub-populations of high-risk individuals with disparate access to medical care in attempts to identify patients at increased risk of developing severe complications such as gastric cancers.

1. What are your general thoughts about the Mentoring Program?

I have really enjoyed the mentoring program to date.  As a mentor of a recently recruited faculty member it has given me the opportunity to help provide an open dialogue and an open-door policy for questions, concerns, and advice. The program has been sorely needed for many years in our department, so it is wonderful to now have it in full effect.

2. What drew you into volunteering with the Mentoring Program?

I was fortunate to have mentorship from a faculty member that also trained me in fellowship.  She always helped me to find opportunities to build my CV and reputation as well as my overall career. She gave me advice on working with people, speaking my mind effectively and constructively, and how to “play the game”. While not a formal mentorship in the sense of this program, I benefited so much from her guidance that I wanted to pass it forward and do my best to help another faculty member in any way I can.

3. After being matched and meeting with your faculty mentee, has mentoring been the same or different from what you expected?

It has actually been a bit different.  I am not sure I expected to have such an open and candid dialogue right out of the gate. I am very forward and unfiltered and was not sure how my approach would be received by a junior faculty member. Thankfully, I received a very similar response and conversation style, which has allowed us to get to the real important conversations early.  In addressing concerns and hard questions early, it provides more time to plan strategies for success and happiness in the work environment. All in alI, I have found it more rewarding than I expected.

4. What has been an incentive moment in your mentoring relationship?

I have really enjoyed getting to know a faculty member from a different part of the department in a way that I likely would not have otherwise.  This, to me, is a great opportunity to break down silos and build comradery and friendship.

5. What would you say to someone who is interested in becoming a mentor?

Just try it…you may be surprised at how little time it takes to make an impact on a colleague’s work life. No one is expecting perfection or omnipotence…sometimes just an ear and empathy is more than enough.

6. What is one thing you’ve learned from being a mentor? This can also be experiences outside the faculty mentoring program.

I have learned that the negative experiences that I had early in my career are still very relevant today and the cycle needs to be broken to help others not experience the same missteps. As a mentor, I have the knowledge and experience to help make a difference in the early career development of my colleague.

Past Mentor Interviews