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- Anthony N. DeMaria, MD, MACC, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the American College of Cardiology∗ ()
- ↵∗Address correspondence to:
Dr. Anthony N. DeMaria, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 3655 Nobel Drive, Suite 630, San Diego, California 92112
At this time 12 years ago I sat down to write my first Editor's Page. Becoming the Editor-in-Chief of JACC marked a new phase of my medical career. When interviewing for the position, I had made a list of existing activities that would be terminated so as to have adequate time to devote to the Journal. Major institutional administrative responsibilities, clinical care efforts, travel, and research endeavors were among the activities that had comprised much of my life to that point and would have to be curtailed in the future. As I sit down now to write my final Editor's Page, one and one-half months from ending my term, I find myself again at a transition point and about to turn another page in my professional life.
I must admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as the editor of the Journal for the past 12 years. When I was first selected, it was both exhilarating and terrifying. I viewed the position as an awesome responsibility to the readers, to the College, and most especially to the authors. I was aware of the enormous effort that typically went into preparing an original research manuscript, so I decided to apply the “Golden Rule” and commit to treat every paper as I would want my own treated. The Journal was already quite successful, and I felt some pressure not to “screw things up.” Offsetting my terror was the excitement of having this opportunity to make a contribution to the profession. Although treating each of the nearly 6,000 submissions a year as I would want my own handled has required more hours than I had originally imagined, it has truly been a labor of love. It is for others to judge the success of the Journal; for me, although I know there are a number of things that were not perfect, I am satisfied with the way things have gone.
A number of changes have occurred to the Journal over the last 12 years. From day 1 we employed a digital online submission and review system for all manuscripts, a technology that is now standard. We established the Simon Dack Award and Elite Reviewer designation to recognize exceptional peer reviewers who were critically important to the generation of new knowledge but who otherwise often went unrecognized. We tried implementing Focus Issues and attempted to capture the annual highlights of papers published in individual fields in our “Year In” series, both of which had varying degrees of success. We were the first cardiology journal to have a version for a digital tablet in the form of our iPad edition. The Journal is now a weekly publication, and we post draft versions of accepted papers online shortly after final acceptance for prompt availability and early citability. By far our most audacious innovation was the development of the JACC offspring: Intervention, Imaging, and Heart Failure. The outstanding success of these journals and the fact that other cardiology publications have followed the same path gives us confidence that the decision to do this was wise.
The accomplishments of the Journal over the last 12 years, such as they have been, have truly been due to a team effort. Liz Wilson, Senior Director of Publishing at the American College of Cardiology (ACC), has been a stalwart over the years, and a true partner at every turn. Liz and I have been encouraged and supported by Kevin Fitzpatrick, Executive Vice President of Business Development. Of the thousands of decisions that we have made over the years, clearly the very best one was hiring Glenn Collins as managing editor. Glenn has brought his prodigious talent to the position, and has not only run the publication process super efficiently, but has also contributed a number of innovations. He clearly serves as a role model for his position. The Chairs of the Publication Committee during my tenure, Gene Braunwald, Pam Douglas and C. Noel Bairey Merz, have provided guidance and counsel that was invaluable. Gene, in particular, was instrumental in very many ways, especially in establishing the new JACC journals. The Associate Editors have provided the core function of the peer-review process, and they have left their imprint on the Journal. I am pleased to say that, although we had many spirited discussions at our weekly meetings, there was never a raised voice. The reviewers are, of course, a requisite component of the medical literature, and our Simon Dack Awardees and Elite Reviewers are especially deserving of thanks. Finally, our publisher, Elsevier, has been a great partner throughout the years, and its representatives could not have been more dedicated to our success if they had been part of the ACC itself.
A number of Editor's Pages have dealt with the role of our families, and how much they sacrifice and contribute to our careers. I continue to believe that this is an underemphasized aspect of medicine. In this regard, the demands of the Journal over the last 12 years have certainly been shared by my wife, children, and grandchildren. There was always something that needed to be done for the Journal, and usually within a time limit. My wife maintains that I was always in my study consumed by my computer monitor. Nevertheless, through it all, she stood by cheerfully and with support. As she has during our many years of marriage, she was a true partner sharing the highs and the not-so-highs, and almost never complaining. Whatever success that the Journal has experienced during my editorship is due in major part to the role she has played; I could not have done it without her. I plan to spend the next 12 years, or as many as are to come, making it up to her. As for my children and grandchildren, I plan to be such a constant presence that they will rapidly become tired of seeing me.
I leave the Journal serene in the knowledge that it is in excellent hands. Valentin Fuster is certainly one of the most accomplished and respected cardiologists of our lifetime. He is that rare individual who can function at the highest level as a researcher, clinician, and teacher, not to mention his skills as an administrator. He is recognized and admired for his contributions not only to the United States, but to the world. When the ACC conducted a special program consisting of presentations and interviews of 5 living “Legends in Cardiology” several years ago, Valentin was an easy choice to be one of the legends. It will be a source of great pride for me to be able to say that I once held the same position as Dr. Valentin Fuster. He and Executive Editor Jagat Narula have put together an excellent team of associate editors, editorial board members, writers, and illustrators. He is brimming with new ideas to improve the Journal for both authors and readers, and these enhancements will be apparent from his very first issue.
I have been asked hundreds of times what I plan to do with all of the time I will reclaim when the responsibilities of the Journal are gone. The short answer is that I have no idea, but I am confident that something interesting will come along. Upon completing the presidency of the ACC at the tender age of 46 years, I faced a similar situation. At that time, in response to a question from my wife about what I would like to do, I indicated that I would most like to be the Editor-in-Chief of JACC. Having realized that wish, I am confident that some suitable challenge will soon come along. I am not sure it will ever match the opportunity of the Journal, but at this stage this seems less important.
Transitions occur in every life, in some more than others. Many people have incredibly successful and satisfying professional careers at a single institution. For me the transitions have been a bit more frequent. I served on the faculty of 3 medical schools, the first 2 for about 10 years each. When I reached the 10-year mark at University of California–San Diego, the urge to make another major change began to occur. That is when the editorship of the Journal came along, and I was able to enter a new phase of my career without having to relocate. The 12-year chapter of my life that has been the JACC editorship has exceeded my wildest expectations for intellectual excitement and fulfillment. However, it is always valuable to get new ideas and fresh enthusiasm. Therefore, the time has come to turn the page, for myself and for the Journal. It has been an enormous honor and privilege to serve as the Editor-in-Chief of JACC, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There is no doubt that I will miss a great many things about the position. However, whenever you turn a page there is always something new to read, and I cannot wait to see what comes next.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation