Charles Parker, MD, Editor-in-Chief
I have been a fan of The Hematologist since its inception in 2004. The mixture of news and educational features presented in a variety of lively, concise formats filled a previously unmet need of the Society for a publication that is reader-friendly but respected for scholarship based on the standing of the members of the editorial board and guest contributors. Over the past eight years, both the vitality and the mission of the newsletter have been maintained while new, innovative features have further enlivened the publication.
I have been honored to be part of the editorial board as a contributing editor since January 2008 and more recently to be coordinating editor for the Clinical Trials Corner section. In the former role, I contributed articles to the Diffusion section of The Hematologist. These articles are brief reviews of scholarly articles that address issues of fundamental importance to hematologists or that are seen as particularly creative or imaginative. The idea is to provide an amount of background information on the subject sufficient for the non-expert reader to understand the hypothesis being addressed and then to communicate the author’s perspective on why the publication is noteworthy. The Diffusion section is the heart and soul of The Hematologist and participating in this endeavor along with 12 other outstanding contributing editors under the guidance of the Editor-in-Chief Roy Silverstein was particularly rewarding.
In my more recent role as coordinating editor, I worked with Roy and Karen Learner, managing editor, on developing the Clinical Trials Corner feature. This initiative (first appearing in the July/August 2010 issue) resulted directly from reader feedback asking for information on ongoing clinical trials. Synopses of important trials are solicited from the contributing editors. We developed a format for the Clinical Trials Corner designed to encourage the contributing editors to use their insight and experience to enliven their review so that the reader will understand why they chose a particular clinical trial. In particular, we wanted the reviews to be more than just an outline of the nuts and bolts of the trial; rationale and comments sections were incorporated into the format to be used by the contributors to develop their personal position on the study.
The current format of The Hematologist accurately reflects the aims of the publication to provide news of special interest to members of the Society in both the academic and clinical arenas and to deliver educational pieces that encompass the broad, integrated interest of basic and clinical researchers and practicing hematologists. The Hematologist is an official publication of ASH and, as such, is one of the voices of the Society. It is this official standing that gives the publication its impact and mandates the highest standard of editorial integrity.
Although The Hematologist is a publication of the American Society of Hematology, the Society includes many international members, and nearly 40 percent of those who attend the annual meeting are from countries other than the United States. There is much to be learned from our international colleagues. Currently, Drs. Peter Johnson from Southampton, UK, and Xavier Leleu from Lille, France, are members of our board, and The Hematologist will continue to solicit regularly guest contributions from leading hematologists outside of the United States.
Our fellows are the future of the Society, and they should feel included from the beginning of their careers. In addition, fellows have interests that are unique to their group. These interests include training regulations that impact on board eligibility and certification, career options and choices, and opportunities for specialty training and entry-level research funding. Contributions from fellows, training program directors, and relevant policymakers will remain regular features of The Hematologist.
We will also continue to feature profiles of both distinguished members of ASH and more junior colleagues whose careers illustrate the aspirations of the Society to encourage scholarship among its members. We feel strongly that advocacy among our readers should be promoted, and The Hematologist will provide a forum for the Society to inform members of ongoing and planned advocacy efforts.
I am honored to be the fourth editor-in-chief of The Hematologist, following in the footsteps of my respected predecessors Andrew Schafer, Peter Emanuel, and Roy Silverstein. Their dedication and vision have turned a stranger of uncertain intent into a trusted friend whose visit every couple of months we now welcome. At the Editorial Board Meeting in December, we said goodbye to Michael Linenberger (University of Washington) and Steven Grant (Virginia Commonwealth University); both served consecutive terms on the board. Their insightful contributions will be missed. At the same time, we welcomed Mark Koury and Peter Kurre. Mark is professor of medicine at Vanderbilt. He has a longstanding interest in erythropoiesis and has made important contributions to the field over three decades. He brings with him a wealth of laboratory and clinical experience. Peter is associate professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Cell & Developmental Biology at Oregon Health and Sciences University. He is interested in bone marrow failure syndromes and gene therapy. As a pediatric hematologist, Peter will represent an important contingent of our readership.
The Hematologist exists to serve our readers. In his Commencement Address to the Stanford University Class of 2005, Steve Jobs gave a nod to the counterculture of the 60s and 70s that had so profoundly influenced him by quoting from the Whole Earth Catalog, imploring the new graduates to “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Foolish in this case did not mean unwise or silly, but rather its use in this context was intended to convey the idea of taking a playfully irreverent approach to dealing with dogma, and, in so doing, to open the way for creative, innovative thinking. To a greater or lesser degree, reality sullies many of our ideals, but I suspect that most readers of The Hematologist are still excited by new concepts and different ways of thinking about things. We will do our best to keep the publication fresh and invigorating, and in turn we ask you, the reader, to stay curious, stay engaged.
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