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Am Fam Physician. 2005;72(10):1946

American Family Physician is fortunate to have available many resources of Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C., to support our publication. Several of the medical editors are Georgetown faculty members, including the editor, Jay Siwek, M.D. In addition, several of the AFP medical editing fellows have later become contributing or associate editors.

Medical editing clerkship

The Georgetown University School of Medicine offers several elective clerkships for fourth-year medical students to meet the individual needs and desires of each student. Many of these electives are open to medical students from other schools. Students have substantial freedom in choosing the service and hospital in which he or she must spend their elective time. One of the clerkships offered is a four-week rotation in medical editing. This clerkship offers the opportunity to work with Dr. Siwek, the other medical editors and fellows, and the AFP Georgetown office staff on various aspects of publishing AFP. Jill Giordano is in the midst of this clerkship and has been busy learning many aspects of medical publishing. Jill is a student at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine. She is completing the Georgetown medical editing clerkship in combination with a clinical rotation at the Georgetown University—Providence Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program.

Jill’s interest in medicine began when she was only eight years old, when her sister was born with a rare genetic condition. Her interest in medicine has continued, although she first majored in English in college. The medical editing clerkship offers the opportunity to combine these two interests. Jill says she wants to focus on family medicine in the future, and she has a special interest in geriatrics. She also would like to continue to write, focusing on medical information for the public.

Clerkship responsibilities

The medical editing clerkship offers an overview of the medical publishing world, and Jill has been involved in a variety of AFP projects. She has been evaluating manuscripts and article proposals, vetting artwork, and writing several pieces, including “Tips from Other Journals” and patient information handouts. So far, Jill said, “Working with the Georgetown group has been great. I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t give me ‘busy work.’ I’m really part of the team, not a visitor.”

One of the most surprising things she discovered was how much work is done to a manuscript between submission and publication. She said, “ AFP is very readable and much easier to understand than most journals. Now I realize that it’s because of all the massaging that articles undergo before publication to make them a similar style.”

Jill said this clerkship will make her a better physician. “This gives me a better appreciation of how to comb through academic information in journals.” The initial evaluation of manuscripts includes questions about the source material. She added that being involved in this examination has given her a “more discriminating eye about type of sources, evidence used, and how to evaluate information presented.” As in the past, AFP reaps the benefit of this clerkship by having a young, enthusiastic medical student contribute ideas and suggestions to this publication.

For more information about the medical editing and other clerkships, see and search for “clerkships”; for information about clerkships available nationwide, see the Academy Web site at

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