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EDITORIAL

The American Journal of Gastroenterology in 2022 and Beyond: A Vision for “Our” Journal

Long, Millie D. MD, MPH, FACG1,*; Bajaj, Jasmohan S. MD, MS, FACG2,*

Author Information
The American Journal of Gastroenterology: January 2022 - Volume 117 - Issue 1 - p 1-2
doi: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000001579
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The American Journal of Gastroenterology has met with immense success over the past 2 decades, under the exceptional leadership of Drs Brennan Spiegel, Brian Lacy, William Chey, and Paul Moayyedi. As the flagship journal of the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), AJG aims to publish clinically relevant, high-quality articles that change the way we think and practice as gastroenterologists. This journal belongs to the practicing clinician in gastroenterology and hepatology; our journal ultimately aims to optimize the care of patients. As the new Co-Editors-in-Chief of AJG, we are honored to lead a journal in such excellent standing and have envisioned a path forward that will focus on the strengths of the past 2 decades while allowing for innovation as our field progresses.

There are countless examples from the past 2 decades of practice-changing articles published in AJG. In particular, we would like to highlight the impactful and timely efforts of Drs Spiegel and Lacy early in the severe acute respiratory syndrome-Coronovirus-2 pandemic. The editorial board received record numbers of submissions, and AJG led the field in describing gastrointestinal manifestations of COVID-19 (1–3), risks of COVID-19 infection in populations with gastroenterological (GI) and liver diseases (4), and vaccination outcomes in GI populations (5). These timely and important manuscripts changed practice during this turbulent time.

A specific practice-changing highlight of AJG is the clinically relevant guideline statements developed through the Practice Parameters Committee of the ACG. These guidelines are developed using rigorous GRADE assessment of the evidence while providing additional important key concepts for the clinical practitioner. In the past 2 years alone, AJG has published 11 clinical guidelines ranging from the management of Clostridioides difficile to irritable bowel syndrome to drug-induced liver injury (6–16). It is our vision that these guidelines will continue to be a central component to the journal, with regular updates. In particular, the AJG is moving toward a rapid update structure for diseases where the data are rapidly changing, such as inflammatory bowel diseases, hepatology, and functional diseases, to better meet the needs of the college and our readers.

The exceptional quality of AJG publications and clinical reviews over the past 6 years is a testament to the outgoing Editorial Board of AJG. As we move forward into a new era, we will rely on the creativity, mentorship, and collaboration of those who brought the journal to where it is today.

What will AJG look like in 2022 and beyond?

AJG will continue to focus on clinically relevant articles that inform clinical practitioners while threading the needle between knowledge discovery and clinical translation. We have several continuing and new initiatives that we would like to highlight to accomplish our goal of page to practice in AJG.

We will emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout AJG, from the leadership to the editorial board, to authors, to reviewers, and article content. Diversity will enrich our ability to innovate, to develop good policy, and to better understand and serve our readership and our patients.

We plan to enhance submission and publication of randomized controlled trials in the gastroenterology and hepatology realm through a rapid review process. Randomized controlled trials provide the highest available evidence of superiority of one intervention over another and can guide important aspects to the care of GI populations—such as therapeutic drug selection, appropriate monitoring protocols, safety of interventions, and the use of diagnostic tests. We hope to attract these studies to the pages of AJG so that clinicians can incorporate results straight from the journal page to the bedside.

Engagement of the readership, investigators, and patients is a major part of our vision. We will engage the busy practitioners for whom the journal is targeted through robust social media and member-focused outreach that generate synopses of the important published papers, which go beyond the current popular podcasts. We want to engage and encourage young investigators, especially those who receive ACG support to publish their papers to our journal.

Although ACG is based in North America, we recognize that the journal readership is global. To further increase and consolidate this reach, we will enlist the assistance of a talented editorial advisory board. We will focus on cross-cutting global topics and support international submissions for consideration in the pages of AJG. We aim to engage our international colleagues to assist us in prioritizing aspects of care worldwide, which could in turn help American practitioners remain culturally sensitive and medically aware of diseases in an increasingly global world.

We have also enlisted the assistance of 2 talented editors for the Red Section of AJG, Drs Neeral Shah and George Smallfield. Through their leadership, we will enhance the Red Section with a focus on clinical practicality and educational opportunities. The Red Section will continue the popular “How I approach it” column, focusing on the management of a GI problem from a leading expert in the field. A new “Fellows Corner” will highlight issues in training and mentorship and will provide educational initiatives through clinical cases and board review vignettes (for trainees and the membership alike). There will also be a focus on quality improvement and practice optimization, clinician-friendly summaries of updates in newer GI medications, instruments and techniques, and considerations of social determinants of health in training and clinical practice.

The prior editorial board met with great success in a rotation of special issues to augment the traditional content of AJG. These issues include a regularly appearing Negative Issue and other successful cross-cutting themes, such as women's health. We will continue this focus on thematic issues, with the first to launch in 2021: Food as Medicine.

Finally, to achieve AJG's goal of page to practice, we have enlisted the help of an outstanding and diverse editorial board of clinical researchers throughout North America. The names of our editorial board colleagues are listed on the masthead of this issue. We are fortunate to work with these thoughtful physician-scientists to bring the highest level of science to our readers' fingertips. “Our” journal is for you, the reader to engage and provide feedback to continue to improve your experience with AJG, as we move into this next era. We ultimately want our pages to mirror what you need to know in clinical practice with an eye toward translating knowledge that is on the horizon. We would like to thank the ACG for the opportunity to steer the AJG forward to this next “beyond.”

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Guarantor of the article: Millie Long, MD, MPH, FACG and Jasmonhan S. Bajaj, MD, MS, FACG.

Specific author contributions: The authors contributed equally to the writing and editing of this article.

Financial support: None to report.

Potential competing interests: None to report.

REFERENCES

1. Schettino M, Pellegrini L, Picascia D, et al. Clinical characteristics of COVID-19 patients with gastrointestinal symptoms in Northern Italy: A single-center cohort study. Am J Gastroenterol 2021;116:306–10.
2. Marasco G, Cremon C, Barbaro MR, et al. Prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection: Results of the prospective controlled multinational GI-COVID-19 study. Am J Gastroenterol 2021. doi:10.14309/ajg.0000000000001541.
3. Hao SR, Zhang SY, Lian JS, et al. Liver enzyme elevation in coronavirus disease 2019: A multicenter, retrospective, cross-sectional study. Am J Gastroenterol 2020;115:1075–83.
4. Khan N, Patel D, Xie D, et al. Are patients with inflammatory bowel disease at an increased risk of developing SARS-CoV-2 than patients without inflammatory bowel disease? Results from a Nationwide veterans' affairs cohort study. Am J Gastroenterol 2021;116:808–10.
5. Botwin GJ, Li D, Figueiredo J, et al. Adverse events after SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination among patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Am J Gastroenterol 2021;116:1746–51.
6. Chalasani NP, Maddur H, Russo MW, et al. ACG clinical guideline: Diagnosis and management of idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury. Am J Gastroenterol 2021;116:878–98.
7. Gardner TB, Adler DG, Forsmark CE, et al. ACG clinical guideline: Chronic pancreatitis. Am J Gastroenterol 2020;115:322–39.
8. Gyawali CP, Carlson DA, Chen JW, et al. ACG clinical guidelines: Clinical use of esophageal physiologic testing. Am J Gastroenterol 2020;115:1412–28.
9. Kelly CR, Fischer M, Allegretti JR, et al. ACG clinical guidelines: Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Clostridioides difficile infections. Am J Gastroenterol 2021;116:1124–47.
10. Lacy BE, Pimentel M, Brenner DM, et al. ACG clinical guideline: Management of irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol 2021;116:17–44.
11. Laine L, Barkun AN, Saltzman JR, et al. ACG clinical guideline: Upper gastrointestinal and ulcer bleeding. Am J Gastroenterol 2021;116:899–917.
12. Pimentel M, Saad RJ, Long MD, et al. ACG clinical guideline: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Am J Gastroenterol 2020;115:165–78.
13. Shaukat A, Kahi CJ, Burke CA, et al. ACG clinical guidelines: Colorectal cancer screening 2021. Am J Gastroenterol 2021;116:458–79.
14. Simonetto DA, Singal AK, Garcia-Tsao G, et al. ACG clinical guideline: Disorders of the hepatic and mesenteric circulation. Am J Gastroenterol 2020;115:18–40.
15. Vaezi MF, Pandolfino JE, Yadlapati RH, et al. ACG clinical guidelines: Diagnosis and management of achalasia. Am J Gastroenterol 2020;115:1393–411.
16. Wald A, Bharucha AE, Limketkai B, et al. ACG clinical guidelines: Management of benign anorectal disorders. Am J Gastroenterol 2021;116:1987–2008.
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