You will notice that we feature a photo of a physician—not a nurse—on this month's cover. By now you are likely familiar with Dr. Anthony Fauci, America's top infectious disease expert, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Chief Medical Advisor to the President, who is retiring at the end of December. Most know Dr. Fauci from his work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many know him from his work during the Ebola epidemic. And many more know him from his consequential work during the HIV/AIDS epidemic; for me, that is where he is most revered. I know some are staunch critics of Dr. Fauci, but let me explain why he is featured on AJN's cover.
In the 1980s, when HIV infections reached epidemic proportions, the federal government's response was lackluster. Many people died as a result, including some of my dear friends. Aware of promising drug treatments and frustrated with the time it took to get these drugs to their dying loved ones, activists from hard-hit communities mobilized to change the system. Dr. Fauci was probably the most critical player in transforming the ideas advocated by HIV/AIDS activists into action, accelerating the drug approval process and potentially saving tens of millions of lives. He is the very reason why some of my friends are alive today. To me, his is a career worth celebrating.
Two articles in this issue offer further context on his legacy. In the Guest Editorial, “A Tribute to Dr. Fauci,” his wife, Christine Grady—a nurse and chief of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health—discusses his impactful role as a public servant for nearly six decades and his close work with nurses. Additionally, in “Forever Grateful” (opposite), nurse Carole Treston reflects on Dr. Fauci's work early in the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and how his leadership made possible momentous advances in the understanding and treatment of the disease.
On a less important note, the December cover design is a bit of an experiment for us; as we think about the future of AJN, we want to try out different looks. We will monitor your response to this approach, which departs from our standard design template. You can provide your feedback by emailing me at [email protected] or voting in our reader poll at www.ajnonline.com.—Carl A. Kirton, editor-in-chief