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The Society of Hospital Medicine's Physician Editors Contribute in Ways Large, Small, Significant


Mark and Jeff set the bar: What are we going to do for hospital medicine?

“Write an article, about a thousand words long. Just make sure you turn it in on time every month.” These were verbatim the instructions I received from the editorial staff about a year ago before I started writing this monthly column in The Hospitalist. Most hospitalists, even those in academia, don’t write an article every month. In fact, for most hospitalists, it’s probably been years, possibly decades, since they have penned a piece for publication. The last probably was turned in for a grade.

Well, the good news was that I was given carte blanche to write about topics of my choice. I thought that was a good idea until it came time to write my first column. Yikes! What do I write about? It certainly was easier in school when I was told I had to write about specific topics─say, why Napoleon scapegoated Snowball in Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” Now, not only did I have to write, but I also had to come up with the topic.

Partly because of my obligation to The Hospitalist, I have developed great admiration for interesting, prolific writers. What else did I learn from writing this column? I found out that it is hard to write in a vacuum. Although I knew the editorial staff would be proofreading my language and grammar, I didn’t expect them to give me feedback about content or style.

Soon after my first column, I started putting my email address at the end of the column. Some of the best feedback I received this year as SHM president came because I listed my email address with this column. Secretly, I am hoping that future SHM presidents will do the same and that SHM members will take advantage of the opportunity to communicate with their president.

There is a lesson to be learned here: In order to improve, all of us need consistent, timely, constructive feedback. I have enjoyed writing this monthly column and thank everyone at SHM and The Hospitalist for this opportunity. It was not always easy coming up with a topic or finding the time to string together coherent ideas on a keyboard.

As challenging as it has been at times for me, I think about what Jeff Glasheen has done for the past five years as physician editor of The Hospitalist. Not only did Jeff produce a monthly column five times longer than I did, he also worked tirelessly with the editorial staff to shape, expand, and improve the content of The Hospitalist. Under his leadership, we finally have a professional magazine with content that the advertisers can be proud of. He did this on top of his day job as chief of the hospitalist program at University of Colorado Denver. I won’t elaborate on his multiple other SHM commitments, which including roles as course director of the Academic Hospitalist Academy and chair of the Academic Hospitalist Committee. By the way, Jeff was HM12 course director, too. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank him for his service.

Most hospitalists, even those in academia, don’t write an article every month. In fact, for most hospitalists, it’s probably been years, possibly decades, since they have penned a piece for publication. The last probably was turned in for a grade.

Jeff has been a tireless advocate not only for SHM, but for our profession. Enjoy Jeff’s column this month (see "The End," p. 52). I don’t know ahead of time what he will write about, but rest assured, it will be timely and interesting. This will be Jeff’s final column as physician editor of The Hospitalist. He recently made the decision to step down and hand over the reins to another incredibly talented hospitalist, Danielle Scheurer.

Luckily, Jeff is not one to rest on his laurels. He will be joining the editorial staff of the Journal of Hospital Medicine. Jeff has been the face of The Hospitalist for so long that it will be hard to think of The Hospitalist without him. Danielle, I’m sure, will do a great job. She also knows she has massive shoes to fill.

What I just said about Jeff can and should be said also for Mark Williams, who recently stepped down as JHM’s editor in chief. As the first editor of our field’s preeminent scientific journal, Mark set a high standard. His successor, Andy Auerbach, will be challenged to surpass this high standard. Like Jeff, Mark’s leadership of JHM was only the tip of the iceberg. Mark has done virtually everything there is do at SHM, including serving as an annual meeting course director, SHM board member, and SHM president. Mark is a recognized national leader in transitions of care and was instrumental in development of SHM’s Project BOOST. All of us owe Mark and Jeff a tremendous debt of gratitude. I am a big fan of both of them and feel fortunate to know both HM leaders.

My expectation is that Mark and Jeff, like others who have been so influential in our field—Jeff Wiese, Tina Budnitz, and Larry Wellikson among them—will one day join the Wachters, Nelsons, and Whitcombs as Masters in Hospital Medicine. The views and ideas in The Hospitalist and JHM formulated and shaped the ideas of this young profession. Over the past few years, nobody’s voice has been louder than those of our editors, Mark Williams and Jeff Glasheen.

The field of hospital medicine and our professional society, the Society of Hospital Medicine, has been blessed with visionary leaders, hard-working volunteers, and a talented staff in its first 15 years. They have laid a solid foundation for our field. HM and SHM will continue to grow only if we are able to produce high-value care for our patients. Our ability to increase healthcare value will be based on our ability to improve the quality of care for patients inside and outside the hospital. Individuals like Mark and Jeff have shown us the way. The challenge is for individuals like you and me to help them carry the torch over the next decade and beyond.

I welcome your feedback. Email me at; catch me on Twitter: @_JosephLi; or contact me via LinkedIn at Joseph Li.

Dr. Li is president of SHM.

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