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Am Fam Physician. 2001;64(5):719

Once a year AFP's editors gather for a conference at the AAFP headquarters in Leawood, Kan. It's a time when professional staff editors join with physician editors to compare notes on editorial policies and procedures, define editorial philosophies, and generate new ideas. It's a time when we compile a list of things to do in the upcoming year and check our progress against last year's list.

Dr. Jay Siwek, AFP's editor who presides over the meeting, has a thoughtful approach that we have come to appreciate over the years. He is the one who must make the final determination on many of the major editorial decisions, but typically he opens the floor to discussion and receives input from physician editors and professional staff editors. Dr. Siwek listens quietly, seeking additional opinions and clarification from the meeting panel. In the end, we know he will have carefully considered a variety of opinions before making a decision. It's a process that AFP's readers would surely appreciate if they were given a chance to look in at the editors' meeting. With a panel of family physician editors from across the nation who bring their varied experience to the table and the benefit of a seasoned chief medical editor, AFP is well placed to meet the information needs of family physicians.

Naturally, we also value opinions directly received from readers and, since AFP's readers can't be at the editors meeting, we're providing you with a glimpse of some of the questions we tackled at this year's meeting:

  • Is the “Resident and Student Voice” section of AFP (a quarterly featured department) a proper venue for discussion of controversial topics by residents and students? Or are controversial topics best handled in traditional forums, such as editorials?

  • What is the best way to ensure that authors of AFP articles have based diagnosis and treatment recommendations on the strongest available evidence and labeled the strength of evidence accurately?

  • What is the best way to enhance AFP content in the online version ( What would be most beneficial to readers as online supplemental content to the print journal?

  • Are there other sources of information/topics that AFP should cover?

  • Which are the best journals to cover regularly in “Tips from Other Journals”? Should we keep supplying the editorial comments that appear along with some Tips?

  • What are the best guidelines to cover in “Practice Guidelines”?

If you have opinions about these or other editorial matters, we'd love to hear from you. Simply send your comments via e-mail

At the same time we discuss topics such as these during the annual meeting, we enjoy rekindling friendships. AFP's family physician editors serve diverse patient populations and have different backgrounds, and professional staff editors, added to this mix, bring even more variety to the group. Despite our differences, we all have at the core a dedication to creating healthy communities, and our goal is to help AFP serve that mission well. It's a common bond that keeps us coming together once a year, regardless of time or distance.

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Copyright © 2001 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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