Saying Goodbye and Passing on the Reins
By Steven P. Ringel
June 22, 2017
It is often said that the clock turns faster as we age. That certainly rings true for me as I pass on my role as Neurology Today editor-in-chief to Joseph E. Safdieh, MD, FAAN, as of July 1. Seventeen years have elapsed since I first suggested that the AAN publish a newspaper covering discoveries, innovations, and regulations that lead to changes in the way we practice neurology. We've gone from four print issues in 2001 to 24 issues annually in print and electronic formats. We have added podcasts, video interviews, and rapid electronic reporting from major meetings.
The success of Neurology Today is the result of the talents of many neurologists and journalists. Most notable among these individuals is Fay Ellis, the publication's editor who has been the backbone of Neurology Today since its inception. Fay has immeasurably enhanced my appreciation of the talents of professional journalists who make it easier for all of us to absorb complex topics. Lewis P. (Bud) Rowland, MD, FAAN, a revered American neurologist whom we recently lost, was the inaugural editor-in-chief, and he insisted on rigorous, accurate, and balanced reporting during his tenure. The skills I acquired as associate editor while working with Fay and Bud were valuable stepping stones as I assumed the editorship in 2010.
I also would like to specifically recognize the talent and assistance provided by three extraordinarily insightful associate editors: Robert Holloway, MD, FAAN; Orly Avitzur, MD, FAAN; and Ken Tyler, MD, FAAN. Their discerning and tireless help, along with the rest of the Neurology Today editorial board, has made my role less demanding and most enjoyable.
In his most recent book Thank You for Being Late, Thomas Friedman points out both the positive impact and unintended consequences of the acceleration in discoveries that we all experience today. The many readily available internet sources of information can be overwhelming for busy neurologists to absorb and critically analyze. The primary mission of Neurology Today has always been to reduce information overload as we provide a balanced analysis of neurological research discoveries and practice innovations.
At a time when news can be disseminated rapidly and uncritically, our editorial team has sought not to sacrifice careful consideration because of time pressures. The addition of our Neurology Today Conference Reporter, providing you with rapid electronic analysis of national and international meeting presentations, highlights this challenge.
Dr. Safdieh is an experienced educator who understands that today's fast pace of change requires lifelong learning using the most innovative techniques. Futurists assert that with our current ability to digitize sight, sound, touch, and hearing, even the emotions and affect present in our facial expressions and voice tones will be recognized and interpreted by computer programs. With these technological innovations, I can only imagine the creative formats Neurology Today will use in the future to educate you, the reader.
I anticipate that computer algorithms will enhance every aspect of neurologic decision-making. Such approaches will never replace the empathy and judgment essential to the practice of neurology, but when used optimally, they should be of enormous help in reducing the gap between discovery and implementation. I'm confident that Dr. Safdieh and his editorial team will take full advantage of all these advances to provide the accurate and timely information you seek.
As a newspaper, we offer a rich mix of information beyond neurologic innovations. Features include expert analysis of legislative and regulatory issues, perspectives and opinions on contemporary events, book and movie reviews, and stories on the accomplishments of fellow neurologists and neuroscientists. In my tenure with Neurology Today I have learned something new almost every day that improves the health and well-being of my patients with neurologic diseases. I hope you, the reader, have as well, and will continue to do so in the years ahead.
After more than 50 years in the field, Dr. Ringel is retiring from academic neurology on July 1, 2017.