As we near the end of this month, we're preparing our goodbyes for one of AFP's long-time medical editors, Charles Smith, Jr., M.D. For the past 14 years, Dr. Smith (“Charlie” to all of us) has served as deputy editor of AFP, contributing significantly to the content of the journal and also its spirit. Dr. Smith, who has always offered us wise counsel and a friendly smile, earned a special place at our editors' round-table and in our hearts as well.
Dr. Smith recently made the decision to step down from his position as deputy editor of AFP so that he could balance his plateful of other responsibilities, which includes a rapidly expanding physician online service, in addition to his role as executive associate dean for clinical affairs at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine, Little Rock.
It was in 1989 that Dr. Smith joined editor Jay Siwek, M.D., as part of the journal's first all-family-physician editing team. Dr. Smith helped lead the journal into a renaissance era that involved academic improvements in content and technologic changes in processes. Dr. Siwek recalls that it was Dr. Smith who first encouraged medical editors to get hooked up with something called the Internet and begin communicating with something called e-mail. He was the first among the medical editors to begin editing on the computer rather than with pencil and paper, and he was the first one to start sending editorial copy via e-mail to the publishing offices in Kansas City.
But this is just the “tip” of the iceberg in terms of his contributions. Not only was Dr. Smith one of the most prolific medical editors in terms of the number of manuscripts he reviewed and edited (a quick search of our database shows that he edited over 30 manuscripts per year), he also was known among staff as our legendary “Tips” coordinator—the one person who handled more “Tips from Other Journals” than any other single medical or professional editor on staff.
Over the past 10 years alone, AFP has published more than 3,700 Tips from Other Journals, all under the charge of Dr. Smith. He led the medical editing team through the process of scanning the medical literature for pertinent topics and writing one of the most popular departments in the journal, ensuring that each Tip made its way onto the pages of AFP.
Although it seems too soon to say “So long, Charlie!”, we know we've been blessed by his loyalty and dedication over the years. To our friend and colleague, Dr. Smith, we send our many thanks and wishes for continued success in family medicine, and to his wife and family who we also came to know, we offer our best regards.