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?).
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Explore This IssueNovember 2006
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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.)
At its core, TR is about identity—and in today’s world, identity is crucial. By illuminating and defining the nature of rheumatology practice, TR will hopefully shape it.
Bonding with Baby
As the first physician editor of TR, I want this magazine to create a special bond with its readers—rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals. In this work, I will collaborate with two editors at Wiley: Lisa Dionne, the editorial director, and Dawn Antoline, the TR editor. Lisa and Dawn are both very talented, experienced individuals who have a strong commitment to journalistic excellence.
In addition, like a peer-reviewed journal, TR has an editorial board comprising an outstanding group of ACR and ARHP members from both practice and academia. This editorial board will have an activist role. They will write, edit, and advise, providing an invaluable perspective on key trends in the field. Unlike a traditional journal editorial board whose members are almost exclusively academics, the TR editorial board represents a much wider spectrum of ACR and ARHP members and will contribute diversity of experience and opinions as well as their knowledge of the field in determining TR content.
As the former editor of A&R, I rejoice that the ACR has created a publication that, while founded in scholarship, is nevertheless personal in its mission and extols engaging writing, a focus on people, and lively graphics as much as it does evidence-based medicine. TR will be a complement to the peer-reviewed journals of the ACR and will experiment with new ways to communicate exciting research developments and translate them into accessible and actionable forms.
To meet the education needs of our members, TR will offer engaging, easy-to-read articles on clinical topics and practice management from thought leaders in the field as well as experienced professional medical journalists. The content of these articles will rival that of a scholarly journal, but the style will be more personal and friendly.
While very honored and thrilled to be the first editor of TR, I do not consider myself a parent. My role has been, and is, different. Rather, I have participated in the birthing process. Using a medical analogy, I have served as an obstetrician, ready to intervene if needed, capable of yanking and tugging, but mostly guiding the emergence of a slippery creature from the womb of the ACR.
With the publication of the first issue of TR, I am making the transition to pediatrician. Like all good pediatricians, I will strive to be a wise, caring, and gentle soul, able to offer advice, encouragement, and reassurance to the parents as the baby grows. I will be a source of calm and cheerfulness and will help the baby’s parents if ever they should call.
So who, in this expanding and bustling family of ACR publications, are the proud parents? I think, dear reader, that you know the answer. The proud parents are you. This is your magazine, truly a publication of rheumatologists, by rheumatologists, and for rheumatologists. It will grow and prosper all the more as ACR and ARHP members participate in its upbringing, support its development, and, most importantly, become loyal and avid readers.
Helping Baby Grow up Healthy and Strong
To meet the goals of TR, I would like its content to emanate from the members of the ACR and ARHP who can contribute by providing ideas for articles, serving as authors, and assisting writers by offering their honest and forthright opinions for background and quotation. The more the content of TR reflects the important issues in rheumatology—patient care, practice management, and the changing political and economic landscape—the more relevant and lively TR will be.
Many years ago, a book by the title Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex* *But Were Afraid to Ask, shot to the top of the New York Times best-seller list and became the basis of a very funny Woody Allen movie. The title was a bit long and cumbersome but it was remarkably apt. The title conveyed a great truth about sex but the point is general. There is much that people don’t know, and about what they don’t know, people are too afraid to ask.
We never seriously entertained as a title for the new publication, What You Always Wanted to Know about Rheumatology* *But Were Afraid to Ask, but the name has merit. In establishing the goals for the new publication, the ACR is saying, “Please ask.”
With this first issue of TR, the ACR’s new baby has arrived. The baby is stirring, opening its eyes, and gazing around. So far, there has been no screaming, and I think that I can detect even a little smile on its face.
The ACR has high aspirations for its baby. Let us be good parents. Let us a raise a wonderful child together.
Dr. Pisetsky is physician editor of The Rheumatologist and professor of medicine and immunology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.