IT is an honour to take on the role of Editor of the Medical Journal of Australia.
Part of my role is to oversee MJA InSight, our new and exciting email newsletter.
While it is easy to have online chats within special interest groups or as part of our specialist colleges, until now there have been few opportunities to converse with our colleagues in all branches of medicine.
MJA InSight fills that void by providing a forum for interaction within our profession. It is open, free of formal peer review, published weekly and responsive.
It aims to bridge the divide between the clinical, research and political worlds that we inhabit.
Dr Martin Van Der Weyden, who retired last week after 16 years as MJA Editor, has been a kind and supportive teacher.
He has stressed that “being a good editor is living dangerously” and endorses the wisdom of an early editor of the BMJ, Ernest Hart, who believed that an editor must have enemies.
While generating enemies is not my aim, I do want to encourage debate beyond the realm of the usual medical agenda.
Debate in InSight is not limited by eminence or convention and I am happy to foster debate that may seem controversial.
You can start the conversation.
A recent external audit has shown that this newsletter is Australia’s fastest growing email newsletter for doctors and already reaches more doctors than any other newsletter in the country.
Not bad for a newsletter that is only 6 months old.
I hope you will contact InSight to let us know about issues that are relevant to your community.
We need you to be our eyes and ears at the coalface, particularly about the unforeseen impacts of changes, both medical and political.
If something is bothering you, it is probably troubling many of your colleagues.
Unlike other medical e-newsletters, InSight has at its disposal the extensive medical knowledge and resources of the MJA to make it relevant and challenging.
We aim to be informative as well as providing a forum for comment, and leaders in medicine and politics are already following and participating in the conversations on InSight.
I am delighted that Martin will continue to be a regular commentator for InSight.
He will, no doubt, continue to stir the pot and provoke discussion.
Martin has been tidying up his shelves and has asked me to be the guardian of a wonderful book from the MJA library full of medical quotations.
The following seems particularly relevant:
“The true dignity of [the profession] is to be maintained by the superior learning and abilities of those who profess it, by the liberal manners of gentlemen, and by that openness and candour, which disdain all artifice, which invite to a free inquiry, and thus boldly bid defiance to all that illiberal ridicule and abuse to which medicine has been so much and so long exposed.” (John Gregory, 1772: Lectures on the Duties and Qualifications of a Physician)
Dr Annette Katelaris is the Editor of the Medical Journal of Australia.
Posted 31 January 2011