Happy 90th Birthday, Academic Medicine! Part II

Cupcake with a single candle

To celebrate the journal’s 90th birthday this year, members of the editorial office and editorial board selected influential, interesting, and fun articles from the archive to share with you. Below is Part II of our dive into the archive. Check out Part I here. For more about the journal’s history, check out this timeline of milestones from the last 90 years.

We hope you enjoy these highlights from our archive. In the comments section below or on Twitter using #HappyBDayAcMed, please share you own favorite articles with us.


Toni Gallo, Senior Staff Editor
Our Post-Convention Caribbean Cruise
Did you know that in 1931 the AAMC offered “a restful, charming vacation sea trip…to the balmy climes of the Tropics” as a post-annual meeting respite? According to this article in the journal, for $95, AAMC members and their friends and families could secure first-class accommodations (deck chairs included) en route to Cuba and Guatemala. This eight-day cruise even included a visit to the Medical College of the University of Havana. Sign me up!

02-10-fullcoverMary Beth DeVilbiss, Managing Editor
February 2010 Special Issue, Flexner Centenary: 27 Articles about Abraham Flexner and His Legacy
Our February 2010 Flexner Centenary issue stands out as an important contribution to the conversation about the future of academic medicine. Through a collaborative planning process, the authors, editor, and staff developed a thorough glimpse at the evolution of medical education since the 1910 Flexner Report, and where the next century would lead us. From cover to cover, this issue of the journal represents rigorous scholarship and creative thinking. (And it was really fun to work on!)

Chris Candler, Editorial Board Member
The Measurement of Outcomes in the Assessment of Educational Program Effectiveness
While this piece is now more than 25 years old, it is just as relevant today as medical schools struggle to define, measure, and identify high quality educational programs. Kassebaum cautions us to not only gather and review outcomes data but also to develop a coherent plan for integrated analysis that will help schools make decisions regarding the curriculum, admissions, promotion, and graduation.

12-08-fullcover_page_1Liza Karlin, Staff Editor
Cover Art, Sarcoma Ceiling
Selecting just one stand-out article is too hard, but I definitely have favorite features. One of these is Academic Medicine’s cover art. When I tell people about the journal, it’s one of the first things I describe. I love that members of the community—learners, physicians and faculty, even patients—produce the art. It’s not museum art … though it could be! The essays that accompany each cover provide insights into the art work, the artist, and the art of medicine. The painting here, Sarcoma Ceiling, produced by a high school student, is one of the first we published and one of my favorites. Even though it appeared on a cover in 2008, the beautiful deep colors, the depiction of life with cancer, have remained with me.

Laura Blyton, Editorial Coordinator
Being Boring
I especially enjoy the Teaching and Learning Moments feature. The authors—students, residents, or teaching faculty—reflect on real experiences from the wards that help them become better at patient care or understanding. I’m always moved by the lessons of humanity in these narratives. It’s hard to select a standout piece, but my favorite is probably the first one I read called “Being Boring.” The author, an internal medicine intern, shares her vulnerable realization that doctors may crave interesting cases, but patients are better off being boring.

Laura Roberts, Editorial Board Member
December 1989 Special Issue, Coming of Age: Ethics Training in Medical Education
My early experience as a guest editor for the special issue of Academic Medicine, “Coming of Age: Ethics Training in Medical Education” in 1989 inspired me to my future work as an editor. Just recently, I wrote about the importance of this experience to my professional development in an editorial on the underrepresentation of women as journal editors entitled, “Where Are the Women Editors?.” I wrote:

From my own experience, great mentors made the critical difference in supporting my “calling” to the work as an editor in medicine. One mentor gave me the courage to serve as a guest editor for a special issue of a major journal when I was a first-year psychiatry resident. Editors in chief of many different journals have across time given me the chance to work on special theme issues with them, providing much guidance and wisdom along the way. Another mentor gave me extraordinary opportunities to learn about editing and stepped in at just the right time with just the right advice (“something worth having is worth fighting for”) when I was feeling a bit dispirited by the “hard ball” process associated with the national selection of a journal editor. I doubt that these mentors were thinking about my gender; they were thinking simply about how to support or enhance my ability to perform the work. These mentors helped me learn the mechanics of the publishing process, and more importantly, they modeled how to live the role—how to fulfill editor duties that involve expertise, mature judgment, and professionalism….Passion, serendipity, teachers, and friends, as with all of academic medicine, are all important as we make our way in the special professional role of an editor. My recognition of the underrepresentation of women as editors in chief was slow, I suspect, because journal and book editors in chief who are extraordinary women—for example, Nancy Andreasson, Addeane Caelleigh, Catherine DeAngelis, and Carol Nadelson—had shaped much of my earlier experience in academic medicine. These women served along with their male colleagues to move the fields of psychiatry, medical education, and clinical medicine forward, and they served as superb role models for early-career physicians. The presence of these great women in medicine made becoming an editor in chief seem somehow possible. Does this special professional work now seem less “possible” to early-career physicians who are underrepresented, including women, I wonder?

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One Comment

  1. Happy 90th Birthday, Academic Medicine! Part I | AM Rounds
    November 21, 2016 at 4:22 PM

    […] from the archive to share with you. Below is Part I of our dive into the archive. Check out Part II here. For more about the journal’s history, check out this timeline of milestones from the last 90 […]

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