They say that “everything happens for a reason” and “somehow good things fall apart so that better things can fall together.” These themes come to mind over the past two months with respect to the editorial team of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. As you may recall, Gailen Marshall Jr., MD, Phd, FACAAI, had planned on stepping down on January 1, 2018, after an unprecedented 12 years as editor-in-chief (EIC) of the Annals. Last year, after a thorough nationwide search led by Bryan Martin, DO, FACAAI, the College proudly announced Rohit Katial, MD, FACAAI, as the incoming EIC. However, after several months of Annals transition planning, Dr. Katial was lured away from academics to pursue an exciting new career opportunity. This meant he could not assume the Annals EIC role in 2018. The College completely understood Dr. Katial’s change of plans, wished him well, and left the door open for him to remain active in College activities. But faced with the prospect of entering 2018 with neither an Annals EIC nor the editorial office infrastructure necessary to run a major journal, the College leadership team and the Publications Committee assumed near crisis mode.
To make a long story short, we successfully convinced Dr. Marshall to stay at the helm as EIC for another four-year term, while also overhauling the structure of the Annals editorial team. A key feature of this change was the hiring of Donald Leung, MD, FACAAI, to a new executive editor position. As most of you know, Dr. Leung served as EIC of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology for 17 years, and with Dr. Leung at the helm, JACI’s impact factor rose from 3.7 to over 12. Dr. Leung will be primarily responsible for Annals editorials, reviews and CME articles as executive editor. In addition, while serving directly under Dr. Marshall, Dr. Leung will provide input in other areas that will advance the reputation and quality of the journal. Our goal is to retain the appeal of the Annals to the practicing allergist while at the same time raising its impact factor, which fits perfectly into the College Vision 2020 strategy. To date, these two superstar editors have been working extremely well together, including making plans for several exciting new initiatives.
“When I was told Dr. Leung had agreed to lend his expertise to moving the Annals to the next level and beyond (to say the least, Dr. Leung is a legend among allergy journal editors based upon his dedication and accomplishments at JACI for so many years), it truly “sealed the deal” for me,” said Dr. Marshall. “The goal of our entire editorial team is to work tirelessly to make next month’s Annals issue better than this months for years to come.”
Dr. Leung is optimistic about the changes as well. “I am excited to undertake this new challenge, and with the help of the College leadership and editorial team of the Annals, have full confidence that we will accomplish huge advances for the journal during the next few years,” remarked Dr. Leung.
The College is excited about what the future holds for the Annals, and as president, I am amazed by the way the events described above unfolded. Critical to the success of this process was the collegial way the individuals involved rose to the occasion, both in terms of the time and energy involved and their unwavering commitment to get it right. The team did not just ask “how can we fix this?” but rather we asked, “how can we use this opportunity to serve the long term best interest of the College and its membership?” This impromptu experience over the past two months has been challenging, exhilarating, and most of all, it has reminded me once again why I am so proud to be part of the College.
Stephen A. Tilles, MD, FACAAI