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Am Fam Physician. 2000;62(12):2571

This issue represents the last one published in Y2K, ending a yearlong celebration of AFP's 50th anniversary of publication. On page 2572, you'll find the final piece in the “AFP 50 Years Ago” series, a commemorative section of excerpts and special commentaries that has appeared throughout the past year. The final entry is a report from a former managing publisher, Mac F. Cahal, J.D., which was published in the April 1950 issue of GP, the predecessor of AFP. Mr. Cahal, who played a key role in the startup of the journal, cites some statistics in the piece that are pretty impressive for 1950:

  • At that time, GP had a total of 15,000 readers (the total circulation of AFP now is more than 170,000).

  • The average family physician in 1950 earned an annual net income of $12,480 (the average income of family physicians is now closer to $139,244, according to the Medical Group Management Association's [MGMA] Physician Compensation and Production Survey, 1999).

You'll want to read Mr. Cahal's 1950 piece for more such statistics. However, since managing publishers and managing editors alike tend to keep track of all kinds of things, I've prepared some of my own statistics for you:

  • Y2K marks the first year in which 24 issues of AFP were published (20 issues were published in 1999 and 1998, 17 issues were published in 1997, 16 issues were published each year from 1993 to 1996, and 12 issues were published each year before that).

  • AFP published a total of 159 articles in 2000.

  • Ninety patient information handouts accompanied those articles, surpassing the number of handouts published in any other year.

  • A total of 532 “Tips from Other Journals” were published during the past year.

  • AFP received a total of 208,811 answer cards for the “Clinical Quiz” so far this year—establishing a new record for quiz card returns.

  • A total of 6,508 advertising and editorial pages of AFP were published in 2,000—almost 500 more than the number published in 1999, AFP's second largest year.

Granted, these numbers may not be as fascinating to readers as they are to publishers, but they do highlight one fact: AFP got off to a jump start 50 years ago and has never quit growing. If it weren't for the solidity of family medicine as a specialty and the many fine contributors of AFP who have so well served the needs of physician readers, AFP wouldn't be boasting about these statistics at its 50th anniversary.

As we embark on the next year of publishing, we have plenty of plans for new article series and departments that will continue to provide the kind of practical information that family physicians need. Starting with the January 1 issue, however, the golden 50th anniversary emblem that you might have grown fond of will no longer appear on the corner of the cover. Nonetheless, we hope you will remember the symbol with pride, since our successes hinge on your successes. AFP represents the spirit of the family physician, which will long outlast any golden anniversary. AFP's thanks, in the end, go to you.

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Copyright © 2000 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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