A Farewell from the Editorial Team
By Fay Jarosh Ellis
June 22, 2017
Readers may take for granted the work that goes into producing a quarterly-cum-monthly-cum biweekly publication. But with whatever modesty Steven P. Ringel, MD, FAAN, passes off the successes of his tenure as editor-in-chief to his supporting team of associate editors and advisory board members — and deservedly so — his role in ensuring that success should not be underplayed.
A successful publication does not occur in a vacuum of leadership and editorial vision. For 17 years, Steve Ringel has brought that and more to Neurology Today, and he has made it look easy.
But of course, easy it is not. In quantifiable terms, Steve has reviewed nearly 10,000 articles for Neurology Today — yes, I counted them — and ushered in at least one or two top-scoring editorial awards every year. He has fielded the emails when we got something wrong, and requested a correction when an errant, worrisome typo creeped in. And he has led countless conversations with the editorial team, debating the merits of coverage of things both controversial or unconventional for the field.
Should we let the author of a book review quote a four-letter word from a passage? How far do we go when reporting on a legal action involving an AAN member? Do we include perspectives that may be wholly unconventional? How deep can we dig in uncovering potential conflicts of interests in the studies we report? Can we find independent experts who don't have those conflicts? These are but a few of the questions that emerged in our calls and meetings with Steve over the years.
Steve approached each question with integrity — never standing down from a controversy, even when the report did not align with conventional stances. He gave the go-ahead to articles about the benefits of mindfulness and alternative medicine in neurologic care, legal action involving big pharma, zombies in neuroscience, disparities in salary and leadership, ethical lapses, and conflicts of interest involving the very advertisers that help make this publication free to the AAN membership.
He encouraged us when we did something right and chided us when reporters got it wrong.
He was the ultimate insider, and yet he stood apart. He served as AAN president, executive vice chairman of the neurology department at University of Colorado, and executive vice president for clinical effectiveness and patient safety at University of Colorado Hospital.
But anyone who spent five minutes in his company would tell you — he did not allow the trappings of his leadership positions, however well-earned and executed, make him any less approachable or human or irreverent.
When leafing through the many photos taken with Steve over the years — comprising countless editorial meetings and special events at AAN Annual Meetings — I was most struck by the one picture taken outside his professional realm. In the photo, he stands atop the apex of Mount Kilimanjaro, clad in mountain-climbing gear (and without his characteristic couture bowtie) — his arms outstretched against a gray sky in unmistakable joy and triumph.
Steve Ringel has certainly brought both joy and triumph to his role as editor-in-chief of Neurology Today, and he has made working on this publication fun. As he moves on beyond neurology and this publication, he will undoubtedly continue to take on new adventures and challenges. I know I speak for the editorial team when I say he has been more than a wonderful leader and editor, he has been our most steadfast friend. For all of that and so much more, we will miss him and bid a fond farewell.