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December 2014

After 10 YearsMission Accomplished

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Sacramento, California
  • 2Editor, JAMA Surgery

Copyright 2014 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Surg. 2014;149(12):1223. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2014.3184

Ten years ago, I was given an opportunity by Catherine D. DeAngelis, MD, the editor in chief of JAMA at the time, to carry on the mission of the Archives of Surgery. I succeeded Claude H. Organ Jr, MD, who had been the successful editor of Archives of Surgery for 17 years. Many changes have occurred in the journal over these past 10 years, including changing our name to JAMA Surgery just last year. Dr DeAngelis stepped down as editor in chief of JAMA after an impressive reign of 11 years, and Howard Bauchner, MD, is the new editor in chief of JAMA. Dr Organ died shortly after he stepped down from being editor of Archives of Surgery; however, his influence on me continued throughout my 10 years of service. Sometimes I felt as if he were cheering me on to make a difference whenever we launched a new initiative for the journal.

Some of those new initiatives included taking the journal into the electronic era, with submissions and reviews performed entirely online, and publishing all content online first, with the posting of new articles every week. We do podcasts and also online interviews with authors as they discuss the importance of their work. Our website is vibrant, bringing attention to our featured articles. Our web editor Michael E. Zenilman, MD, even tweets our content these days. We have published some excellent videos and are always looking for more.

Other accomplishments and features that we have added in the past 10 years include the Resident’s Forum, monthly Viewpoints, an increased number of Invited Commentaries, rolling yearly themes, and doubling the number of Clinical Challenges. We now publish 2 CME quizzes each month, one of which is online only. We have a new affiliation with the Association of VA Surgeons, which happened just this past year, and we have kept a strong affiliation with the Pacific Coast Surgical Association, with both associations providing us with excellent content articles. Our impact factor has increased some most every year, and this past year, it was 4.297, more than a whole point higher than 10 years ago. The number of submitted manuscripts has increased nearly 60%, from approximately 700 manuscripts a year to approximately 1100.

All this could not have happened without the leadership of the deputy editors Edward E. Cornwell, MD, Richard D. Schulick, MD, and Pamela A. Lipsett, MD, along with the web editor Michael E. Zenilman, MD. In addition, the editorial board, both past and present, has been excellent in doing reviews and giving us direction every year at our annual board meeting. Our editorial board meetings have been vibrant and fun, and I will remember them fondly.

However, the main reason why we have been so successful is Terri Carter, who has been the managing editor for the whole 10 years that I have been editor. She has navigated the changes with poise and grace, and she has kept me on target. She is so efficient and has the most amazing emotional intelligence. I have learned so much from her. We are good friends, and I will miss working with her. Every morning I would get her e-mails, along with the newly arrived manuscripts to be reviewed, and I always considered my early mornings as “working for Terri.”

I also need to thank all of the staff at JAMA; they have been so helpful to us. Through all our changes, they have always listened and had solutions. I believe that our mission is still relevant: “To promote the art and science of surgery by publishing relevant peer-reviewed clinical and basic science information to assist the surgeon in optimizing patient care. The Archives of Surgery [now known as JAMA Surgery] will also serve as a forum for the discussion of issues that involve ethics, teaching, surgical history, and socioeconomic concerns.”

I look forward to watching the evolution of JAMA Surgery under the leadership of the new editor Melina Kibbe, MD. She will take the journal to an even better place with her innovative ideas and incredible energy. As I like to say to my fellows, residents, and students, go forth and do great things!

When I took over the journal 10 years ago, I thanked Dr Organ for all he had given to promote the Archives of Surgery, and I quoted Calvin Coolidge: “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor is given by what he gave.”

I want to thank Cathy, Howard, and all the JAMA staff (Terri, Eddie, Rich, Michael, and Pam), and all of the past and present editorial board members and all of you who have submitted, published, and read articles in JAMA Surgery for what you have given me over the past 10 years. I will be forever grateful. Mission accomplished.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Julie Ann Freischlag, MD, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, 4610 X St, Ste 3101, Sacramento, CA 95817 (

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.