James Douketis MD
Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Journal of General Internal Medicine
Challenges, Strengths, and Vision for the Future
As editor-in-chief of the Canadian Journal of General Internal Medicine
(CJGIM) for just over six months, it has been my pleasure to get to know
and work alongside our deputy editors, Drs. Rodrigo Cavalcanti, Ameen
Patel, and John You, the Journal Editorial Board, and the excellent staff
at the Canadian Society of Internal Medicine (CSIM). I have also had the
opportunity to reflect on the Journals challenges and strengths, and wish
to share with you our views on this and what our plans are for CJGIM
your Journal.
Let’s start with the challenges. There are thousands of medical journals
in circulation, which begs the question: what does the CJGIM add to this
already cluttered journalistic landscape? Is the Canadian Medical Association
Journal or the Journal of General Internal Medicine, among other journals,
not enough to reflect scholarship and practice issues relevant to our
specialty in Canada? An outside critic might argue that the CGJIM adds
little of substance and kills swaths of trees in the process. Furthermore,
the CGJIM is not yet indexed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. So
why do we exist? The answer to this question is plain in my mind but for
others it could be found during the recent CSIM meeting. The meeting
took place at the spectacular Banff Centre for the Arts surrounded by the
majesty of the Rocky Mountains. Against this idyllic backdrop, what was
more noticeable, however, was the high level of the lectures and small group
interactive sessions, genuine collegiality between young and old(er!) peers,
and infectious enthusiasm of the attendees. The high level of scholarship
shown by the trainees in developing and presenting their research was
impressive. Clearly, our peer group deserves to be heard, not only to
showcase the scholarship on display at our society’s annual conference, but
to provide a broader voice to issues specific to our burgeoning specialty
in Canada, currently not provided by other journals. We do acknowledge
the need for indexing status and we are working towards this (see below).
The strengths of CJGIM, however, go beyond just providing a voice for
general internists in Canada. Much scholarship and related thoughtful work
by our peers goes largely unnoticed and deserves to be disseminated. Some
exist in annual rounds presentations, particularly by late-career, practicing
clinicians and university faculty. In addition, early career general internists
and aspiring clinician investigators need a vehicle to showcase their clinical
acumen, dedication to local quality of care improvement, global health
initiatives, and original research. The Journal should provide a springboard
for such ventures. Finally, a space is needed to recognize “thoughtfulness,
whether manifesting as interpretations of contemporary issues (e.g., gender
equity, opioid crisis, physician burnout), literary expression (e.g., poetry,
non-fiction writing), or observations of daily clinical practice.
What, then, is our vision for the future of the Journal? Our short- to
medium-term aim is to increase awareness of the CJGIM and to encourage
submissions from our specialty. First, we are asking our Editorial Board to
solicit articles from colleagues and other contacts. We have also reached
out to Chairs of Medicine to identify medical grand rounds topics,
typically done by late-career colleagues that could be readily crafted into
a commentary, perhaps in partnership with an early career colleague. To
this end we have created a new section of the Journal titled “Chair’s Medical
Grand Rounds Across Canada.” These topics would focus on important,
potentially controversial but top-of-mind issues for our specialty. Second,
reflecting an increasingly image-oriented practice, we are starting a section
on “Images in Clinical Practice” to encourage submission of photographs
and other diagnostic images accompanied by a short clinical narrative.
Third, we are focusing on our emerging and early career colleagues to
encourage them at the annual CSIM meetings and elsewhere to submit their
work to CJGIM. The process of converting a poster or oral presentation
into a written manuscript teaches how to convey and articulate concepts
and thinking in a clear, succinct manner. Fourth, we will be engaging
colleagues in point-counterpoint or debate-style discussions, which are
always of interest. Fifth, we are creating a new section on the humanistic
elements of our practice, capitalizing on the hidden artistic talents of our
colleagues. Finally, we are increasing our social medial presence through
Twitter and will request selected authors to provide short, 2–3 minute,
videos summarizing their work that can be posted on YouTube.
Our medium- to long-term aim is to achieve indexed status with the
U.S. National Library of Medicine and obtain an impact factor. Reaching this
goal will, without doubt, increase the number of submissions to the Journal.
Ideally, we want to make CJGIM a desired destination for scholarship and
thoughtful commentary as it relates to general internal medicine. Other
long-term aims include stimulating discussion and scholarship around
emerging areas that will affect our practice such as competency-based
medical education, artificial intelligence, and use (and misuse) of big data.
On behalf of the deputy editors, I look forward to promoting
scholarship, thoughtful reflection, and humanism relating to general
internal medicine through the CJGIMyour Journal. Please join us in
this venture. And by the way, CJGIM is now fully electronic, so we are
saving a few more trees.
Message from the Editor
Canadian Journal of General Internal Medicine
4 Volume 13, Issue 4, 2018