Of metaphors, mission, mentors, and 50,000 thank yous.


t d i D p t r h t “The changing of the guard.” The metaphor frequently is used during leadership successions, but it doesn’t seem apt for a transition of editors. The comparison brings to mind images of stiff-legged automatons in furry-hatted parade dress, eyes ophthalmoplegically fixed forward, nominally protecting a palace or a tomb. An editor’s job is not ceremonial, however, nor is it to enforce lockdowns, like a prison warden. Which leads us to consider a better metaphor. We needn’t look far to find one. Ten years ago, Ophthalmology Editor-in-Chief Don Minckler declared in his swan song editorial that it was “time to change the watch” as he completed his term and Andrew Schachat took the helm. Dr. Minckler made the point that a successful voyage results from a sequence of successful watches. The nautical allusion also reminds us that one of the chief responsibilities of a medical journal is to help its thoughtful readers navigate through an ocean of information, much of which is inconsequential, incorrect, or in some cases, potentially injurious. Safe passage for both our patients and ourselves requires not only that the medical community adopt useful new information (that is, a better route from A to B), but also that we understand what does not work. The importance of learning from mistakes is one reason why, nearly a century ago, the New England Journal of Medicine began publishing Case Records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. As the editors at that time explained, “Too often in current medical literature we get accounts of brilliant successes, rather than failures in diagnosis and treatment, which are of far higher educational value. Harbors are made safer for mariners not by records of prosperous voyages, but by buoying the dangerous reefs and sunken ledges that have caused disasters.” Unfortunately, new hazards continually are identified in health care, just as undersea topography changes with tide and current. But even more assuredly, researchers and practitioners will enhance our understanding of ophthalmic disease and will devise new techniques and new equipment to address new problems—and old. I look forward with great anticipation to the advances that will occur during my editorial watch. Which brings us to the journal’s mission. Ophthalmology’s fundamental aim, in a word, is service. Our goal is to serve society, that is, patients and their families, throughout the world by publishing the best available clinically related research. This, in turn, is accomplished by serving authors with prompt, unbiased peer review and by serving readers by advancing innovation and discovery. In partnership with the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the journal plays a key role in the lifelong education of practitioners. Such service is done through . . . servants. Which brings us to Andy Schachat. For the past decade, Dr. Schachat, a world-renowned retinal specialist and Vice Chair of the Department of Oph(

DOI: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2012.09.024

Cite this paper

@article{Bartley2013OfMM, title={Of metaphors, mission, mentors, and 50,000 thank yous.}, author={George B. Bartley}, journal={Ophthalmology}, year={2013}, volume={120 1}, pages={1-2} }