A Changing Landscape
This is a critical time for health and medicine. While this sentiment has certainly been expressed before with the utmost earnestness, its message cannot be overemphasized. Disparities in health outcomes continue to deepen across socioeconomic and racial lines, reimbursement and insurance coverage structures grow in complexity, costs balloon, ethical dilemmas increase in frequency and in subtlety, measurable personal and population health data points expand, the population ages, and scientific leaders wish health decision-making to more strongly guide our policy makers. Meanwhile, physicians and physician-scientists are increasingly limited to specialized spheres by delivery models that reshape their identities as one piece of an ever-complex hospital ecosystem.
In the world of publishing today, academic journals are flourishing in more and more specified fields. At the same time, the “echo-chamber” effect of the internet allows fringe perspectives to multiply without appropriate peer review while simultaneously allowing important findings to be drowned out by ambient noise.
Platform for Health Leaders
The path from the Flexnor Report, to the advent of penicillin, to the rise health insurance companies, to the development of electronic medical records, and finally to the Affordable Care Act has brought us to a time when health outcomes and health delivery must be defined in terms of complex systems and team-based care. The foundation of such a healthcare system, we believe, is open and rigorous dialogue amongst members of care teams and between providers and organization administrators.
The healthcare provider of the 21st century has evolved into someone who understands the complex organism of care organizations. This provider requires the translation of primary research from a wide array of specialties into the common language of action-oriented scholarship. It is this type of scholarship that can best inform the increasingly democratized leadership structure of the present. The Review, therefore, is a platform for discussion on fundamental medical knowledge and its application to the society in which we live and work. It seeks to serve as a place for thought leaders to convene and develop action-oriented agendas to combat contemporary and anticipated social issues in medicine.
It is with sincere gratitude that we thank all those who have provided us support on this endeavor. Foremost, Columbia has been most generous in its support, both through guidance and administrative support. Secondly, the editorial board of the Harvard Medical Student Review kindly provided advice on the establishment of a new journal, along with friendly faces to sound ideas off. Finally, we have drawn much inspiration from the Columbia Law Review and its inaugural publication under the editorship of Joseph E. Corrigan.
And so with great pleasure, we find it appropriate to welcome you, the reader, to the first issue of the Columbia Medical Review by echoing the words of Mr. Corrigan:
“We feel that we have undertaken a task which may prove to be beyond our powers. Yet we have been encouraged to proceed in the hope that if our efforts are successful, the magazine will be of service to the profession.”
Joseph E. Corrigan, 1901