Articles and Departments
Authors may submit manuscripts in one of the following categories. All articles should be submitted to Jay Siwek, MD, Editor, via AFP's Editorial Manager online submission system(www.editorialmanager.com), unless otherwise noted in this document. For detailed instructions on manuscript submission, see Submitting the Manuscript.
Clinical Review Articles
Most articles in AFP are evidence-based clinical reviews. AFP focuses on clinical conditions that are encountered frequently by practicing family physicians, with an emphasis on diagnosis and treatment of common, important diseases. Clinical reviews generally should be 1,500 to 1,800 words in length.
AFP does not publish original research articles. Although case reports are not featured as articles, a brief case summary may be submitted in the form of a Letter to the Editor (see below; see also Curbside Consultation below).
Authors are expected to reply to published letters about their article, especially any that question the science involved. Failure to do so will disqualify an author from future publication in AFP.
Close-ups: A Patient's Perspective
Submissions of Close-ups must include a patient story, commentary, patient photograph, resources, signed patient consent form, and author statements form. Photographs must meet minimum quality standards. Submit patient scenarios via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading "Close-ups submission [your last name]."
Close-ups submissions should include the following:
- A patient story. The length of stories should be approximately 250 words; however, if you wish to submit a slightly longer story for us to edit, you may do so. The story may be obtained from a recorded interview with the patient, a written document prepared by the patient, or your paraphrase of the patient’s words. All submissions are subject to editing.
- A commentary. Submit a few sentences (50-100 words) as your commentary on the story. Appropriate comments would be reflections on your relationship with the patient, obstacles you faced or overcame in treating the patient, or acknowledgment of the patient’s struggles and achievements.
- A patient photograph. The submission should include a high-quality digital photograph of the patient (preferably) or of a subject matter relevant to the story (e.g., a pair of crutches relating to an injury, a picture painted by the patient, a photograph relating to a hobby or pet). For quality guidelines, see Figures in Preparation of the Manuscript.
- List of resources. Provide one to four resources for further information about the key points discussed. Resources might include self-help groups, medical organizations, Web sites on the topic, and so forth.
- Signed patient consent form(1 page PDF)
- Author statements form(1 page PDF) from the physician who writes the commentary
Authors may submit a case scenario and clinical question to Caroline Wellbery, MD, Associate Deputy Editor of AFP (email@example.com). Materials are edited to retain confidentiality. An expert clinician will provide a commentary in response to the question.
Most editorials in AFP are solicited by the editors; however, freestanding editorials are occasionally accepted. Editorials should range from 250 to 750 words in length and may include six to 12 references. Submit editorials via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading "Editorial".
Letters to the editor are published in each issue of AFP. Some letters may be published online only; online letters will be listed in the table of contents of the print version. Authors may comment on a previously published article or present a freestanding letter on an important clinical topic. Letters should be fewer than 400 words in length, with a limit of one table or figure, six or fewer references, and no more than three authors. Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed at time of submission.
Submission of a letter will be construed as granting the American Academy of Family Physicians permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. Letters will be edited to meet style and space requirements. Send letters to Kenny Lin, MD, Associate Deputy Editor for AFP online (email@example.com). Letters submitted via regular mail should be sent to: 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2672.
Photo Quiz presents readers with a clinical challenge based on a photograph or other figure. Submissions should conform to AFP guidelines. Send submissions to Photo Quiz, AFP Editorial Office, 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2672 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Photo Quizzes should be original articles that have not been published previously and are not under consideration for publication elsewhere. Articles that demonstrate a family medicine perspective on and approach to a common clinical condition are particularly desirable.
- Photo Quizzes by medical students are not considered for publication. It is required that resident physicians, if involved with the manuscript, work with an experienced attending physician who serves as first and corresponding author.
- For military authors, please include your medical degree in addition to your military rank.
- All authors must complete and sign author statement(1 page PDF) and conflict-of-interest forms(2 page PDF). The forms may be faxed or scanned and e-mailed to Amber Randel at the time of your submission (contact information follows this guideline). View more information about what constitutes a conflict of interest.
- Authors should submit original color photographs, slides, radiographs, or digital images that conform to the illustration guidelines outlined in "Figures" under Preparation of the Manuscript.
- Figures should be original images. Do not obtain images from textbooks, journals, the Internet, etc. Acceptance of your Photo Quiz constitutes transfer of copyright.
- They must be in focus and clearly show the feature you describe for readers.
- If you add wording, arrows, etc., also provide a clean image for our production department to work with.
- Each figure should be submitted as a separate digital file, not embedded in a Word document.
- Photographs in which a patient is identifiable (i.e., the patient would be able to identify himself or herself) must be accompanied by a signed patient consent form(1 page PDF) granting AFP permission to publish the photo. Please note that obscuring the eyes does not provide adequate anonymity.
The text of your Photo Quiz should include the following elements: 1) title, 2) introduction paragraph presenting the clinical scenario, 3) a question with one correct and three or four incorrect answers, 4) discussion of correct answer, 5) brief explanation of incorrect answers, and 6) a differential diagnosis table. The following are specific instructions for each element (View manuscript template(1 page DOC)):
- The Photo Quiz department intends to help our readers improve their clinical skills through learning about common clinical conditions with visual components. The primary avenues for this are images (e.g., a skin rash), radiographs, sonograms, and ECGs.
- Photo Quiz is not a case report. It uses case-based teaching to illustrate and educate on a common clinical topic. Two primary criteria for publishing a Photo Quiz are 1) the problem is commonly seen by practicing family physicians and 2) the image shows a typical example. Thus, we prefer images that show typical pathology or common variants rather than “once-in-a-lifetime” cases.
- The title should hint at the diagnosis without giving it away.
- The introduction paragraph presents the scenario that goes with the image. Include clinical information that would logically be included for the presenting complaint.
- The question should be one to four sentences in length and contain the appropriate information needed to answer the question using the image. The question can be arranged in any of the following formats:
- Reader chooses the correct diagnosis: “Based on the patient’s history and physical examination, which one of the following is the most likely diagnosis?"
- Your answer choices can include other physical findings, laboratory values, typical pathology, appropriate treatment, typical clinical course, appropriate treatment setting, etc: “Based on the patient’s history and physical examination, which one of the following (physical finding, laboratory value, etc.) is most likely?”
- Reader chooses the appropriate treatment for the condition: “Based on the patient’s history and physical examination, which one of the following treatment options is most appropriate?”
- Please provide one correct and three or four incorrect answer choices. Answers should come from an appropriate differential diagnosis for the condition you present.
- The discussion of the correct diagnosis should cover important key features of the diagnosis, including defining features, epidemiology, and clinical findings. Begin with a short explanation of why the photo makes the diagnosis correct. Please limit your discussion to 300–500 words.
- Follow your discussion with brief (one to two sentences) explanations of each incorrect answer, describing why they are incorrect or not typical of the photo.
- Create a “Selected Differential Diagnosis” table listing your answer choices and key characteristics of each (View table template(1 page DOC)). Because some clinical presentations may have more than four or five possible diagnoses, you may include other key diagnoses in your differential table. However, please limit this to the most common diagnoses because we do not need to list every possible differential.
- Please avoid discussing how you treated your particular patient or managed his or her disease course.
Submit Photo Quizzes to: