Three years. Thirty-six Forum issues. In my application for the SGIM Forum Editor in Chief, one of my central themes was my memory of what the Forum meant to me as an SGIM junior faculty member. I captured that essence when I wrote in my application: “My overall vision for the Forum would be a publication ‘from SGIM, for SGIM.’ The Forum is the conversational voice of SGIM. SGIM is a diverse organization that is heterogeneous in many aspects of memberships. We are a group of internists that works in diverse settings and promotes excellence in research, education, advocacy, administration, and clinical expertise, among other varied interests. We have national thought leaders, cutting-edge researchers, policymakers, master educators, and risk takers. Highlighting the expertise of these individuals and their contributions in ways that are thought provoking and pull the reader in to want more is the primary driver that I would plan to implement with my team.”
We will have a lot of conversations over this time as I serve as your SGIM Forum Editor in Chief. In any longer-term interaction, it is always proper to start with introductions. I was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, and I am married and raising two sons. I attended Tulane University followed by Tulane School of Medicine. My residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics was followed by employment at Tulane School of Medicine and the Department of Veteran Affairs in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina impacted my life, as it did so many others in New Orleans, but professionally, it also created many opportunities for change. I moved to full-time status at the new Southeast Louisiana Veterans Healthcare System (SLVHCS) and became Chief of Medicine in 2013 where I had the pleasure of designing and activating the new, billion-dollar, state-of-the-art Veterans Hospital. I am one of those people who can honestly say I love my job.
But enough about me, let’s hear from you. “The great charm of conversation consists less in the display of one’s own wit and intelligence than in the power to draw forth the resources of others.”1 The Forum editorial team wants to hear about your perspectives, experiences, advocacy, innovations, and knowledge. We anticipate submissions as diverse as our SGIM members.
The Forum Editorial team would like to share the map of where we envision 2023-24 will take us. The SGIM Council and Executive Leadership requires that annual plans be submitted for Committees, Commissions, Board of Regional Leaders, JGIM, and the Forum. These annual plans not only help Council budget resources but also align these workgroups into a more cohesive actionable workforce that benefits the overall organization.
This year, the Forum’s annual plan includes the following: publication of 12 monthly issues, two or three of which are special theme issues, and the development of a quarterly Student, Resident, and Fellow (SRF) Column. We are budgeted to publish the 12 monthly Forum issues. The Forum theme issues will revolve around a specific topic or group in which all Forum articles focus on the chosen theme. The August edition is a special theme issue to focus on the annual meeting, the awardees, and the programming. The next theme issue, set for publication in December 2023, will focus on Geriatrics and feature scholarly contributions and subject matter expertise guided by our Geriatrics Commission. Finally, the SRF quarterly column will focus on scholarly articles by and for SRFs. The Forum envisions a state where SRF trainees in Medicine will view the publication as the go-to source for timely articles, such as preparing your CV, negotiating your first job, parenting in residency, and maintaining a work-life balance. Now that we have shared the map, we hope that you will travel with us on this journey.
In the September Forum, communication is a focal point in the article by Dr. Rabinovich et al as they tackle the problem of end-of-training handoffs of care in trainee clinics and their novel electronic medical record intervention using sticky notes to tackle this issue. This handoff is pertinent not only in trainee clinics but also across the healthcare system. Dr. Pasha et al from the Health Policy Committee provide us with a framework to use our voices along with their structured approach to advocate for those whose voices go unheard. Dr. Michener et al summarize two recent articles that offer opportunities for Internists to have conversations regarding long-acting reversible contraceptive care with patients. The Medical Education awards subcommittee converses with the 2023 awardees regarding their passions, lessons learned, and successes. Finally, Dr. Agusala reminds us of the clinical impacts of conversations and communications around nutrition by highlighting food as medicine and the clinical implications of our conversations. Her open-ended questions and suggested phrasing delineate strategies to save time for the busy clinician while creating clinical impacts in patient care.
Conversations are crucial and help to define who we are. “Conversation is a meeting of minds with different memories and habits. When minds meet, they don’t just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought. Conversation doesn’t just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards.”2
My goal over the next three years is to have conversations that matter. SGIM members need them, and patients, trainees and colleagues will benefit from these conversations. Conversations are not unidirectional but bidirectional. This is where you have your chance to communicate with SGIM members through Forum submissions. Introduce yourself to others with your submissions. Take this opportunity to “create new cards.”