Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy:
Field-Fote, Edelle C. PT, PhD
With this first issue of 2009, I officially say goodbye to you in my role as section Treasurer. I leave those duties in the very capable hands of Dennis Fell, PT, MD, who has proven to be conscientious, innovative, and (much to the dismay of the Board of Directors) even more of a stickler than I (yes, it's true, I can hardly believe it myself). And I step into the shoes of Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy (JNPT), recently vacated by Judy Deutsch, PT, PhD. A daunting notion to say the least.
In her nine years as Editor, Judy's achievements and the status to which she has raised JNPT are the pride of our Section. It would have been impossible to foresee the unprecedented growth that she would shepherd in the life of our journal. But her summary of accomplishments in the December 2008 issue noted only those that are tangible. Those of us who have the good fortune to have worked alongside Judy on the Editorial Board appreciate that there is much more to the story. In Judy, we have a multilingual, multicultural, multitalented colleague who has been an international ambassador for our Section, sharing both her knowledge and goodwill with our fellow clinicians and clinical researchers around the globe. Although there are many of our “greats” who are prolific contributors to the research evidence, there are few people in our profession who have worked harder to disseminate research evidence in neurologic physical therapy and to facilitate access by clinician-consumers of research. These have been common themes in Judy's service, and she has done this with an affable, gracious demeanor that has invited members and readers to a conversation with their journal. Fortunately, we won't have to miss Judy, as she will stay on with JNPT in the capacity of International Liaison.
With this issue, we initiate a new category of articles, the Systematic Review. In this day of information proliferation, there is great value in having an expert eye cast on the literature to separate the wheat from the chaff. There are numerous variations on the systematic review, but they share a number of common features. All have the goal of providing a reasoned basis for clinical decision making. Although many readers may find it frustrating that, across journals, the currently available systematic reviews often conclude that “there is not sufficient evidence for …,” and although that will likely continue to be true for many issues faced by neurologic physical therapists for some time, progress is being made on many fronts. The Associate Editors and I have a great appreciation for those who contribute to the progress in our field by submitting their excellent manuscripts to JNPT and for the reviewers who take the time to offer the peer review that is so critical to the quality of our journal. Guidelines for the development of a systematic review (see Fundamentals of a Systematic Review of the Literature) are provided in this issue, as are references for additional published resources. The Associate Editors and I look forward to working with authors on the development of their systematic reviews.
Well then, in my new shoes, I look forward to getting to know you and to continuing both the growth of the journal and Judy's tradition of innovation. I welcome your comments, ideas, and suggestions. Please say “hello”!