FPM's New Medical Editor Shares Vision, Goals for Journal

July 24, 2019 10:42 am Michael Devitt

When Sarina Schrager, M.D., M.S., learned that FPM was looking for a new medical editor for the journal, she wasn't entirely sure about throwing her hat into the ring.

[headshot of Sarina Schrager, M.D., M.S.]

Sarina Schrager, M.D., M.S.

"To be honest, I hadn't applied for a position like this in over 20 years, so I was out of practice," she told AAFP News.

That uncertainty quickly faded when it became clear that Schrager's extensive writing and editing experience -- not to mention her more than two decades practicing full-scope family medicine and teaching in the University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine and Community Health -- made her an ideal candidate. After a lengthy application and search process, FPM announced earlier this month that Schrager had been appointed FPM's medical editor, succeeding Kenneth Adler, M.D., M.M.M., who had guided the journal in that role since 2013.

"I was thrilled," Schrager said. "I have been a fan of FPM since residency. I just love the practical papers that lead to better patient care."

Leigh Ann Backer, FPM's executive editor, noted that the FPM editorial team and search committee were impressed by Schrager's vision for the journal, in which she outlined her intention to help readers improve the patient care experience for their patients and themselves.

Schrager described that vision in a recent interview with AAFP News, as well as sharing more about her background and how she views her role as FPM's medical editor.

Q: What do you envision for FPM going forward?

A: I want FPM to be the go-to journal for practicing family physicians who want support for their practices, their patients and their own well-being. The focus on patient and physician experience is enhancing the role that FPM has played among the other family medicine journals.

Q: What goals do you have for the journal, and how do you plan to achieve them?

A: I would love to expand our readership to include more residents and young physicians. I would also like to enhance our content about physician work lives. We are reaching out to national leaders in the physician wellness field to get more content. We are also planning to reach out to residents and young physicians to get a sense of what they are looking for in FPM.

Q: Stepping back, what led you to become a physician, and more specifically, a family physician?

A: According to old family lore, I planned on being a physician from the age of 7. Somehow, I stuck to that plan and went to medical school. During medical school I planned on going into obstetrics and gynecology. I was committed to women's health.

However, during my OB rotation, I was disturbed to pass the baby over to another health care professional. It didn't seem right that the maternal-child pair was going to be cared for by different people. Then I did a family medicine rotation and it just felt "right" to be taking care of entire families. I have now been in practice for 23 years and have not regretted my decision once.

Q: You have a lot of editing and writing experience for most of the major family medicine journals. How have those interests tied into your role as a family physician?

A: I've always enjoyed writing and have developed an interest in editing through the years. I have worked as a mentor for faculty, residents and fellows in my department, helping them learn how to write for primary care audiences.

Q: Are you going to continue practicing while serving as medical editor?

A: Yes. My practice will not change. I have been seeing many of the same patients for over 20 years. The FPM role is part time.