This is the last issue of ENTtoday of which I will be physician editor, and I’d like to take this opportunity to provide a little history, thank some individuals, and comment on the future.
The concept of ENTtoday arose from a publishing strategic planning meeting held at the Drake Hotel in Chicago during the summer of 2005. The concept was to produce a vehicle for pertinent news to practicing otolaryngologists, written by professional writers. One of my aims as physician editor was to expand the news beyond the small realm of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery to include relevant general medical news as well as national health policy issues.
Working with the then-publisher of The Laryngoscope, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW), the concept of a large format newspaper came to life with publication of the first issue in March 2006. In 2010, the Triological Society changed publishing partners to Wiley, and Wiley has been a great partner. New departments and features have been added, and some were deleted based on feedback from you, the readers. Along the way, our publishing team has received several awards and honors, which is most gratifying.
There are many individuals who are responsible for the development of ENTtoday. Pat Brookhouser, who at the time was the Triological’s Executive Secretary, was a very big supporter of the concept. Ray Thibodeau at LWW was key in developing the concept and layout. Vickie Thaw was instrumental in the transition to Wiley. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure and benefit of working with editors Dawn Antoline, Deborah Wenger, Stephanie Cajigal, and, for the past four years, Samara Kuehne. These individuals did all the hard work involved in making sure each issue was put together well in a timely fashion, and I am grateful to them because they were critical to any success we’ve had.
ENTtoday is in good hands with Dr. Alex Chiu as the new physician editor; I’m sure he will take ENTtoday to greater heights.
And no one deserves more credit for the success of ENTtoday than Kathey Alexander. Kathey, representing LWW, and I (along with Ron Bailey and Stan Blaugrund) negotiated the original Laryngoscope publishing contract in the mid-1990s. When she left LWW, Kathey became the Trio’s publishing consultant, with whom I worked for many years as the society’s Publisher Liaison. Kathey has been instrumental to the success of ENTtoday as well as the Laryngoscope and Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology (LIO), our new open-access publication. I, and the society, owe Kathey a special debt of gratitude for all she has done for us.
And now, for the future of medical publishing: It is changing as rapidly as, if not more so than, the practice of medicine. The days of monthly paper academic, subscription journals are coming to a close except, perhaps, for a few select publications. No longer do physicians have the time (our most precious commodity) to read specialty journals from cover to cover to stay up to date; rather, disease- or patient- specific information is now on demand via Google and other sites. This situation will be a challenge for publications
like The Laryngoscope. LIO uses an open access business model that is based not on subscriptions but on each author paying a fee to publish after a peer review as strict as The Laryngoscope’s. Although relatively new to medical publishing, this OA model seems to work and will likely grow. ENTtoday’s existence depends on medical advertising, which is also undergoing fundamental changes. Many challenges, but also many opportunities, face us today.
Not only am I retiring from ENTtoday, I’m also stepping down from my position with the American Board of Otolaryngology, the American Board of Medical Specialties, and medicine in general. It has been a wonderful life with great memories and only the very rare disappointment. I cannot imagine doing anything other than being a physician; there is not a better profession for someone who is interested in science, wants to help people, and possesses an inquisitive/creative bent. Being a physician has afforded me incredible professional opportunities in education, research, health policy, and leadership. Even with the very real challenges I see and hear about today, medicine is one of the few truly honorable professions remaining.
I hope the current generation of young physicians recognizes the opportunity and privilege society has given us as a profession. These are rights earned by the profession going back centuries. I certainly hope that this legacy continues and isn’t frittered away by an excessive focus on money, lifestyle, and self-interest. Our forefather physicians made sacrifices to improve patient care, and what they gave back to society earned us the privileges we have as a profession today. I view medicine as a calling and a brotherhood; it is a tradition and legacy that must be maintained.