Among the major milestones in having a baby is choosing a name. The choice can be a source of anxiety, consternation, and even strife as the proud parents-to-be sift through hundreds or thousands of names to select just the right one. A name might be rejected because it is too popular (how many Tiffanys can there be in one class?), or it may connote the wrong image (can a Walter really strike fear as a ferocious linebacker?).
As the process drags on, some people consult books. Some scour the Social Security Web site for the list of current favorites. I am sure that some people, in moments of desperation as they struggle with the choice between Chelsea and Heather, would consult an oracle or study the entrails of a chicken in search of the right appellation.
Why all the emotional investment in the name? The answer is as simple as it is profound: Naming is a proclamation of the child’s identity. It ties past with present and represents a family’s aspiration for the future. In the choice of a name, the parents are signifying their vision for a child’s unique personality so that someday the child can meet the world with clarity and confidence.
Naming our New Addition
Well, the ACR has had a baby, and that baby has a name. The baby is this new publication, and its name is The Rheumatologist (TR). I think that it is a fine name. It is strong, evocative, and resonant. Even the nickname, TR, is neat; it makes “Junior” part of the ACR publication family so that it can grow up along with its older siblings, A&R and AC&R, with the same last initial. The age spread of these offspring is pretty great but nevertheless they have common blood.
The process of naming TR was not easy. In the deliberations of the ACR leadership and the editors of TR, it displayed all of the dynamics of naming a baby in a real family. Because a birth is a momentous event, it attracts powerful feelings. For TR, the naming process was complicated because the ACR is a diverse organization whose members lead different professional lives. While the majority of its members are rheumatologists, the ACR has an important division—the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP). Most ARHP members are not rheumatologists although they contribute greatly to the care of patients with rheumatologic diseases.
At its core, TR is about identity—and in today’s world, identity is crucial.
The ACR could not act like some families who, in their indecisiveness, give the baby two names and later in life decide which one to use. Of course, the child may decide herself and the Elizabeth G. Smith you know may show up one day as Gwendolyn. There are also families who intentionally disregard the given first name and, from the day of the baby’s birth, use the middle name exclusively. In the end, the ACR and ARHP leaders could choose only a single name and were convinced that no other was as engaging and memorable as The Rheumatologist.
What’s in a Name?—Identity
Having explained the naming of the new publication, it now time to explain what it is. Stated officially, TR is a controlled circulation publication of the ACR to be published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., the publisher of A&R and AC&R. TR will be a benefit of membership and be sent at no charge to all members of ACR and ARHP. Stated differently, TR is a newsmagazine about rheumatologic practice that describes who a rheumatologist is and what a rheumatologist does. (Again, I will have to oversimplify and use the term rheumatologist broadly to encompass all of the members of the rheumatology team, whether they are rheumatologists, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, or any other of the other specialists who collaborate so successfully in this important enterprise.)