It is with great excitement that I take on the role of Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. I certainly have big shoes to fill given the amazing individuals who have preceded me in this role. My relationship with the Journal extends through 3 of their tenures. Editor-in Chief Stan Friedman published my fellowship research article (which now seems like it's from another era). Stan was followed by Paul Dworkin, my friend and mentor who upon taking the reins brought me on as an Associate Editor in 1997, and Suzanne Dixon, who kept me on as associate editor for the last 12 years. My gratitude to these individuals, in particular Paul and Suzanne, is immense.
In my time as Associate Editor, I have seen the Journal—and the specialty of Developmental/Behavioral Pediatrics—transform in many ways. While I used to have an 18 inch high stack of paper manuscripts on my desk reminding me that I needed to make editorial decisions, I now have dozens of e-mails in my inbox from Editorial Manager reminding me of the same task. Electronic publishing gave us the opportunity to do our work more efficiently, and opened the door to a whole new paradigm for what an academic journal can do. Likewise, when I began as Associate Editor, the field of Developmental/Behavior Pediatrics was not yet a board certified subspecialty. We have certainly come a long way, and the science behind the practice, as documented by the Journal's content, is becoming more and more sophisticated.
I believe that the next few years will be some the most critical in the Journal's history, given the explosion in the sciences that underlie our field (including but not limited to neuroscience, pediatrics, epigenetics, child development, social science, clinical quality improvement, public health, and epidemiology). Likewise, the nature of change in academic publishing brought along by electronic media has expanded choices for readers and authors and has resulted in hyperrapid access to new information. As Editor-in-Chief, I will work with the Journal's associate editors, section editors, editorial board, and the Society to map out the direction for our journal. Some of the directions I'd like to explore are noted below.
The Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics should be the go-to source for all issues relating to developmental and behavioral pediatrics—broadly defined—for all physicians and nonphysician clinicians and researchers, not just DBP specialists. Given that the Journal is the official publication of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, we've likely saturated that market in terms of readership. To expand our clinical and scholarly impact, we need to continue to increase our status and visibility among other physicians, including general pediatrics, family medicine, child psychiatry, pediatric neurology, and pediatric trainees. This is certainly consistent with the direction that past Editors-in-Chief have taken since the time of our founding EIC Marvin Gottieib.1 I see too many DBP articles published in other journals—articles that could have been in JDBP. I'll do all I can to bring some of these high impact articles back into the JDBP fold. We'll make the Journal a preferred place of manuscript submission for DBP specialists, general pediatricians, family medicine, and other subspecialists whose research and clinical practice intersect with us.
Likewise, we need to continue and expand upon our strong relationship with nonphysician readers and contributors. The Journal has been blessed with a strong history of shared leadership between physicians and psychologists. Associate Editors Carolyn Ievers-Landis and Glen Aylward, and ex-Review and Special Article Editor and SDBP President Terry Stancin, as well as numerous others on the Editorial Board have been instrumental in these efforts and will continue to be. We'll also reach out to other disciplines, such as education and public health, when our published work fits their interests. In this era of rapid access to information through electronic media, we can't afford to be parochial in our outlook.
My plan will be to retain our core of SDBP readership while increasing our impact and status with other groups described above. To do this will require continuing to expand our focus for the articles we publish. It's been almost 40 years since Bob Haggerty described the “new morbidities,”2 and JDBP has been publishing articles on these issues since the Journal's inception. To expand our readership and scholars who want to preferentially publish their work in JDBP, we need to continue to address behavioral and developmental issues and concerns as they pertain to those who care for children in primary care, psychologist's offices, and other subspecialties. I feel this requires a continued expansion to publish high-quality articles on the social determinants of DBP issues and in the newer areas of brain science and epidemiology, such as the effects of toxic stress,3 allostatic load, and childhood adversities. These are the New Morbidities 2.0 (or perhaps the mechanisms behind the new morbidities), and the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics should be at the forefront of publishing on these topics. This will enhance our reputation while maintaining our strong core in the traditional scholarly and clinical areas of DBP.
OUR STRENGTH NEEDS TO BE IN OUR YOUNGER MEMBERS AND CONTRIBUTORS
I understand how important it is to think early about the long term, and this requires identifying young talent, the “up-and-comers” in our field, and get them invested in the Journal from the beginning of their careers. That's what happened to me. If it wasn't for Paul Dworkin seeing something in me 18 years ago, and for Suzanne Dixon seeing a continuing role for me once she took over the leadership, my role in the Journal, which has been a defining aspect of my professional career and something that brings me great joy, would never have happened.
I understand the importance of mentorship and of actively supporting the careers of young professionals. I founded and directed the APA New Century Scholars, a mentorship program in the Academic Pediatric Association, for the past 10 years. I'm proud to say that 68% of the participants in this program (who are underrepresented minority pediatric residents) have entered academic careers. We created this program because we wanted to help develop the next generation of health disparities researchers. I bring the same enthusiasm and commitment to my role as Editor-in-Chief because I feel the Journal and the Society need to actively encourage the next generation of leaders and scholars. That means developing a cadre of young authors, reviewers, and Editorial Board members who call the Journal their academic home.
ACROSS THE GREAT DIGITAL DIVIDE
There's so much new in academic publishing these days it's hard to separate the snake oil from the real stuff. As Editor-in-Chief, I will work with the publisher and the editorial team to develop a strategy for innovation that is, evidence based, or at least measurable. Our Web site presence will be improving greatly due to the efforts of our new Web Editor Jeffrey Yang. We need to think out of the box before the box shuts us in. We need young blood to push us to think creatively and not resort to the status quo. We need to have a serious debate about the utility of paper journal versus a fully electronic publication. Is social media worth the effort (or … are we using it correctly)? Should we consider a journal issue podcast? Video manuscripts? We need to step into the future, but in a rational way that doesn't have us chasing each new flavor of the day.
I am so fortunate to have had the benefit of working under 2 exceptional Editors-in Chief from whom I have learned much about academic publishing. Suzanne Dixon has expanded the Journal's scope and content over the past decade. Our publishing impact factor has significantly risen during her tenure. It's my hope that I can continue her successes, and I thank her for being such a great team leader and mentor. I'm also so fortunate to have an amazing team to work with. My colleagues and friends Carolyn Ievers-Landis, Glen Aylward, and Lynne Huffman have agreed to stay on as Associate Editors. I can't explain the amount of work that they do for the Journal. And I certainly can't explain their peculiar senses of humor, which makes me look forward to each editorial conference call and meeting. I'm also thankful that the section editors have agreed to stay on: Martin Stein and Marilyn Augustyn (Challenging Case), Nancy Roizen and Beth Wildman (Review and Special Article), Pamela High (Book Reviews), Jeffrey Yang (Web Editor), and Carol Weitzman (Journal Article Review). And last but certainly not least, I am so happy that Managing Editor Mary Sharkey, the engine of the Journal since 1992, will continue to do …everything (with knowledge, efficiency, insight, and a great sense of humor).
I thank the Editor Search Committee and the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics for their support of me. I have a deep and longstanding commitment to the Journal and am honored to help set its direction over the coming years.