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Am Fam Physician. 2000;62(10):2197

At the end of last year we received word that the AAFP board had passed a resolution naming 2000 as the year of AFP, just as we prepared to celebrate the 50th year of publication of the journal. As this year and AFP's celebration begin to wind down, I would like to recognize one more of the many people who have helped make AFP the success it is.

Last month Dr. Siwek was presented the Award of Merit at the AAFP's Annual Scientific Assembly in Dallas. The award was established in 1975 as a way of honoring persons who have contributed toward the advancement of family medicine—and who better to give this award to than Dr. Siwek. He has been a leader in family medicine education through his efforts on behalf of AFP as well as many other endeavors in family medicine.

Dr. Siwek, chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., practices family medicine in addition to heading the medical editing staff of AFP and serving as a contributor to a variety of other publications. Dr. Siwek only recently ended a weekly family health Q &A column that had been running since 1985 in the Washington Post and a column that ran since 1998 in Newsday, whose circulations of over 775,000 and 568,000, respectively, added to the more than 170,000 copies of AFP distributed to readers. He also wrote a different weekly column in Woman's World magazine from 1992 to 1994, reaching approximately 5 million readers.

Dr. Siwek first joined the staff of AFP in 1981 as an associate medical editor. From 1983 to 1988 he was also editor of the AAFP Home Study Self-Assessment program, a series of CME monographs published monthly. In 1988, he became editor of AFP, serving as the journal's first board-certified family physician editor. Dr. Siwek built an editorial board consisting of family physicians in academic and practice settings. As reader loyalty continued to grow, so did the size of the journal—and the doubling of the journal from 12 to 24 issues per year underscores the success of Dr. Siwek's efforts.

Dr. Siwek has added variety and scope to the journal, covering a broad curriculum and focusing on current needs of the readers. Here are just a few of Dr. Siwek's accomplishments:

  • Partnering review articles with useful patient information handouts. Beginning in 1991, AFP started publishing patient information handouts, which turned out to be an important venture for the journal.

  • Adding a variety of features to broaden the journal's scope: “Family Practice International,” “Diary of a Week of Practice,” “Photo Quiz,” “Curbside Consultation,” “Resident and Student Voice,” and “Medicine and Society,” as well as a number of short-run features.

  • Developing special article series such as the long-running “Problem-Oriented Diagnosis” and “Cardiovascular Medicine Update” series, and short-run series such as the “End-of-Life-Care” series that debuted earlier this year. Dr. Siwek has also created special-label articles, including an occasional “Office Procedures” article, which next year will blossom into two different short-term procedure-focused series.

  • Sharpening the focus on evidence-based recommendations. Although providing clinical guidance based on evidence has always been an objective for AFP, Dr. Siwek has actively sought ways of providing information based on the strongest of evidence.

As I'm sure you'll agree, AFP has seen a golden age under Dr. Siwek's guidance, and I hope you'll join me in remembering Dr. Siwek's contributions during the year of AFP.

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