This issue is my last as editor-in-chief of Family Practice Management. I'm retiring from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) this month. Because FPM has always been about helping you deal with the evolving challenges you face in practice, the past 19 years have given me an ideal perspective from which to witness the changing health care environment. I've been able to follow developments from the apparent inevitability of Clinton-style health care reform through capitation, integration, the downfall of managed care, and subsequent dis-integration – all the way to the currently debatable inevitability of Obama-style health care reform. I hope you have found FPM useful over all those years, and I assure you that it will continue to be just as useful in the years to come.
Although I have served as editor-in-chief of FPM since before the first issue, I have never thought of the journal as “mine.” It has always been a group effort. We have always been blessed with a talented staff, and I leave now knowing that FPM has the highest concentration of editorial skill that I've been privileged to work with in my 31 years in medical publishing. Leigh Ann Backer has been with FPM from the beginning in 1993 and for some time has managed the operations of the journal. Her skill as an editor and knowledge of the field have been essential to FPM over the years. Brandi White's tenure is almost as long as Leigh Ann's; her imagination and energy have shaped the journal and its website in ways too many to count. And Lindsey Hoover, while relatively new to the staff, has already contributed to the journal more than her tenure would suggest. Whatever you appreciate about FPM is more their doing than mine, and FPM will remain a valuable resource with them a part of it.
Succession planning has been under way for some time. Instead of filling the editor-in-chief position, the AAFP intends to appoint a medical editor – a knowledgeable, forward-thinking family physician who can head the Board of Editors and guide the development of the journal. The medical editor will shape the editorial content by identifying important topics, soliciting articles, and making final acceptance/rejection decisions following peer review. Recruitment is under way. If you are interested in learning more about this part-time position, send a message to FPM.