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Am Fam Physician. 2006;73(2):193

This month marks 25 years of dedication to AFP by Jay Siwek, M.D., editor. Everyone who has had the honor of working with him–past and present–celebrates with him and thanks him for his service to AFP and the American Academy of Family Physicians. The real beneficiaries of his service, however, have been the thousands of readers of AFP.

In 1988, AFP launched a widespread search for someone to succeed John Rose, M.D., as editor of AFP. Dr. Rose had been a major force in establishing the success of AFP, serving almost 27 years as medical editor. His were big shoes to fill. The Academy started looking for someone who was at once a family physician, a respected academician, a consummate caregiver, and an imaginative journalist to be the next chief medical editor. It turned out that the best man for the job was in their own backyard. Dr. Siwek, associate medical editor of AFP since 1981, assumed the role of editor in November 1988.

Dr. Siwek is the first residency-trained, board-certified family physician to serve as AFP editor. Since 1993, he has been chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Even with all those responsibilities, he manages the helm of this highly respected journal and has continued its success by recruiting experts as authors and associate editors and instituting changes to ensure AFP’s place as the top rated journal for the family medicine profession.

Clayton Raker Hasser was the publisher when Dr. Siwek was promoted to editor in 1988. I asked Ms. Hasser about his contributions to AFP and why he was the best choice to succeed Dr. Rose as editor. Her response: “Hiring Jay Siwek as editor of AFP was probably the best decision I made as publisher. As AFP’s first family physician chief editor, he brought AFP into its own as a showcase for the specialty. He has superb editing and writing skills, clinical skills, educational skills, and administrative skills, plus he is human, loves his work, and has a wry, wicked sense of humor. What more could you want? Jay Siwek is a consummate professional and a treasured friend.”

Dr. Siwek recently was notified that he has once again been selected for inclusion in Best Doctors in America, a listing based on a national survey of physicians. He has had the honor of being listed with them since they started including family physicians in 1996. He also was named in Washingtonian magazine’s article on Top Doctors in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, based on a survey of local physicians. He has been included on that list since they started doing the survey in 1987.

Those honors are impressive, but Dr. Siwek responds with humility. “Although my mother is tickled,” he said, “I kind of feel like an impostor compared with a real doctor, like my Dad.” His father, Stanley Siwek, M.D., has been a family physician for more than 60 years and still makes rounds at four hospitals a day, has day and evening office hours, and makes house calls.

Obviously, the father’s dedication to the profession has been handed down to the son. As editor, Dr. Siwek has made invaluable contributions to family medicine by adding scientific sophistication and authoritativeness to AFP, to the benefit of thousands of AFP readers.

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Copyright © 2006 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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