Dr. Luke Messac was working on his thesis in Washington when he thought he could use an expert's insight. Luckily, the doctor was in—Dr. Anthony Fauci, that is.
When Luke Messac (now Dr. Luke Messac) sent Dr. Anthony Fauci an email to request an interview with him for a thesis, he responded. But it gets better than that. He had a detailed conversation with the then-student and even reviewed his thesis for him. Dr. Messac shared this story on Twitter in response to United States President Donald Trump's criticism of the infectious disease expert. Though he was one of many individuals who shared positive stories of Dr. Fauci, his experience went viral. He has since revealed in an interview with NBC News that the exchange is something he carries with him still.
Dr. Fauci saved a loved one's life after an almost always fatal disease. Family interacted directly with him & reported that he was incredibly smart, compassionate, knowledgable- in the end, his expertise pulled our loved one back from death. He is an expert and the REAL DEAL.— Courtney🤸♀️ My Opinion 🎪 Wyrtzen (@ItsJustCty) July 16, 2020
The now-doctor posted on Twitter, "13 years ago, I emailed Dr. Fauci out of the blue to ask if I might interview him for my undergrad thesis. He invited me to his office, where he answered all my questions. When I sent him the thesis, HE READ THE WHOLE THING (see his overly effusive review below). Who does that?!" The tweet included a screenshot of Dr. Fauci's email review of his thesis, in which he states (among other things), "I could go on and on about the merits of this treatise. Suffice it to say that if I were grading this thesis, I would give it a summa cum claude Maximus. Please let me know if I can ever of assistance to you."
Qualities of a magnificent leader I see exemplified by this email:— 🦉🌼🅁🄴🅂🄸🅂🅃🄰 🅂🄸🅂🅃🄰 🌼🦉 (@crochetdobbysox) July 16, 2020
2. Desire for collaboration based on IDEAS, not status
3. Cites sources
4. Proud to mentor and be mentored
5. Seeks solutions, not credit for those solutions
The infectious disease expert also claimed he was a "perpetual student," who was always learning from "people like you... who are much younger than I." He even gave the bright pupil some advice: "Please keep that in mind as you progress in age and experience." Over a decade later, it's something that Dr. Messac has never forgotten. He shared in an interview with NBC News, "I've carried it with me for a long time. I ended up getting a PhD in history and an MD and I think I’ve carried it since. He talks about being a perpetual student and I obviously feel that same way because I’m still in training. I think it's a good message and one I’ve taken to heart and speaks to how to make a real difference in the world against long odds."
In the mid 90s, I worked for a biotech newsletter. Fauci was every reporter’s favorite source—not just because he could break down the science in ways laymen could understand, but because he was always a pleasure to talk to.— Daren Wang (@darenwang) July 16, 2020
Dr. Messac chose to share the email because he wanted to show a "different side" to the man who has now become a major public figure. "For a lot of us in medicine, he’s just such a major voice," he stated. "He edits one the major medical textbooks, he’s had thousands of publications and he’s fought some of the worst diseases we have. A lot of people in medicine trust him, so hearing his voice was very comforting during a very scary time and still is." The way Dr. Fauci approached the email was also incredibly different from others in Washington. The doctor explained, "Washington’s such a hierarchical place. I spent all my time answering letters and emails from constituents and opening mail and I very rarely had any time to meet with decision-makers or people with a lot of authority." If this email doesn't prove Dr. Fauci's lifetime commitment to the facts and keeping citizens safe, there's probably nothing that will. We owe quite a bit to the expert, who, at the moment, seems like the only voice of reason in all this hullabaloo.