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Am Fam Physician. 2000;62(7):1473

“Treating Fibromyalgia,” an article by Paul J. Millea, M.D., M.S., and Richard L. Holloway, Ph.D., on page 1575 of this issue, starts off a new series of “Practical Therapeutics” articles contributed by the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Guest editors of the series are Linda Meurer, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of family medicine, and Douglas Bower, M.D., associate professor of family medicine.

According to Dr. Meurer, all of the 14 articles slotted for the series have been written, and most have already been submitted and are making their way through the review process. That milestone marks a lot of hard work that has gone into the planning and development of the series. Long before articles were written, the series coordinators worked together with Chris McLaughlin, the department's professional editor, to organize writing workshops for potential authors. Ms. McLaughlin conducted the workshops and provided editorial assistance for the series, and also presented a description of the writing workshop at a conference of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.

Dr. Meurer says that the article topics reflect the broad expertise of members of the department. Articles were developed with the goal of focusing on evidence-based medicine, and Dr. Meurer, who has a strong interest in systematic reviews of literature, helped reinforce this purpose. “We wanted to make sure that we paid particular attention to the data shaping our responses to even the most common clinical problems,” Dr. Meurer said. “And where the data are lacking or contradictory, we wanted to make that clear, too.” Most of the authors in the series have participated in the department's faculty development program, which includes instruction in research methodology by Dr. Meurer and coaching in writing by Ms. McLaughlin.

Article topics are wide-ranging and include otitis externa, plantar fasciitis, cardiovascular disease in women, care of the adult with Down syndrome, end-of-life-care, over-the-counter foot remedies, hypertension in active adults and athletes, primary prevention of human immunodeficiency virus infection, tension headaches, Helicobacter pylori infection, aftercare of cancer patients, exercise-induced asthma and pregnancy-induced hypertension. Some topics originated from the department's sports medicine fellowship program.

The Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin has 68 full-time faculty members and 140 clinical faculty members, guided by department chair Alan K. David, M.D. The department has five residency programs with a total of 115 residents and nearly 200 medical students each year. In addition, the department has four faculty-staffed clinics, a research division focused on medical effectiveness and outcomes-based research, a nationally recognized civic partnership–building entity, the Center for Healthy Communities, and one of the nation's leading faculty development programs, headed by Deborah Simpson, Ph.D. Dr. Meurer also heads the department's academic fellowship program, while Dr. Bower is director of predoctoral education.

Developing the “Practical Therapeutics” series, Dr. Bower says, “has been a way to enhance our commitment to dissemination of scholarship. We've built on our internal peer review mechanisms, and many other faculty besides the 23 authors have contributed thoughtful reading and ideas to the series.”

Our thanks go to Drs. Meurer and Bower, and the many other series contributors.

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