When , MPH, SFHM, started as a hospitalist, his specialty didn’t have a name. His title was simply “medical director.” Now, 2 decades later, he is a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and one of the most experienced and influential hospitalists in the field.
SHM will honor Dr. Auerbach and celebrate his achievements today at HM19, at the Awards plenary following the Chapter Awards of Excellence ceremony that begins at 8:30 a.m. SHM president Nasim Afsar, MD, SFHM, will present him with a plaque and review his contributions to the growth of the Journal of Hospital Medicine.
Throughout his career, even going back to the days he helped to found the Society of Hospital Medicine, Dr. Auerbach has played a crucial role in defining how a hospitalist works and thinks. Over the last 7 years, he led the Journal of Hospital Medicine through an extraordinary period of growth that has secured its reputation as a crucial resource for hospitalists and beyond.
“Andy Auerbach transformed the Journal of Hospital Medicine from the status of a ‘start-up’ Version 1.0 to a polished, efficient machine – Version 2.0. His efforts garnered the national respect that JHM deserves,” said, MHM, University of Kentucky HealthCare hospital medicine division chief and tenured professor of medicine. Dr. Williams served as editor in chief of the journal immediately prior to Dr. Auerbach. “I hope Andy will be known as the editor who transformed an acceptable journal into a stellar example of what a medical journal can become.”
, MSCE, MHM, who has replaced Dr. Auerbach as editor in chief of the journal, also has praise for his predecessor. “Andy has really invested in advancing scholarship in hospital medicine and ensuring that great work is broadly disseminated,” said Dr. Shah, chief of hospital medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Dr. Auerbach said his interest in inpatient and perioperative care sparked his focus on hospital medicine. “My initial research was foundational for the field. I wanted to understand, refine, and improve our role: Do hospitalists improve care and outcomes? Do they affect patient perceptions of their doctors?”
At the time, hospital medicine felt like a 1990s dot-com startup, he recalled, but one that was destined to last. “It was clear that hospital medicine was going to take off, but the academic pursuits were taking longer to get going. We were starting from zero.”
Enter the Journal of Hospital Medicine. The publication received about 200 submissions a year when Dr. Auerbach took over as editor in chief. Now, it receives more than 800.
The higher number of submissions allows editors to be more selective about the papers that are published. At the same time, the growth in the journal’s profile and influence has allowed it to evolve into a more wide-ranging publication, Dr. Auerbach said.
“Geriatricians and nephrologists are sending us papers,” he said. “They believe our work is important, and they understand that we’re publishing research about topics such as acute kidney injury, delirium, inpatient safety issues, and transfer of care.”
According to Dr. Williams, his successor has played a crucial role in the journal’s success. “Andy improved the response rate of JHM, dramatically shortening the time for reviews while maintaining and even improving the quality of reviews,” he said. “This single act profoundly impacted author satisfaction and drove the increased number of article submissions.”
Dr. Auerbach also revolutionized the journal’s approach to technology. “Under his leadership, the journal pioneered the use of social media to engage readers in ways that were fundamentally different from established processes at the time,” said new editor in chief Dr. Shah. “For example, the journal has created roles for social media editors, and it routinely publishes visual abstracts to provide readers with a quick overview of journal research. We also hold regular dialogues with readers via our #JHMChat Twitter journal club to engage them in discussing the latest research published in JHM.”
Dr. Shah also noted that Dr. Auerbach boosted hospital medicine and the journal in other ways during his tenure. “He encouraged the team of editors to engage with our authors in meaningful and substantive ways. That meant encouraging thoughtful feedback and also reaching out to authors directly to provide additional guidance as they revised their manuscript and, oftentimes, as they prepared to submit their manuscript elsewhere,” he said.
In addition, Dr. Shah said that his colleague “also created the JHM editorial fellowship as a way to help develop the pipeline for academic leadership. This fellowship provides chief residents, academic hospital medicine fellows, and junior faculty an opportunity to learn about medical publishing, hone their skills in evaluating research and writing, and network with leaders in the field.”
For his part, Dr. Auerbach hopes his legacy at the journal will include an expansion, perhaps within a year or 2. “I’d love to see the journal come out twice a month,” he said. “There’s enough potential science out there, and I think it could be in that position soon.”
Awards of Excellence
Tuesday, 8:30 – 9:10 a.m.