If you can look into the seeds of time and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then to me…. William Shakespeare. Macbeth. Act1, scene 1
During the past year, a few of us have been fixed on successfully transitioning our journal from the American Medical Association and to evolving and launching a Society of Disaster Medicine and Public Health to serve as its future home. Now we can report that the journal has been fully transitioned, and the Society has finally been launched. To date, many difficulties have been overcome, and, unfortunately, obstacles and obstructions remain on our path forward. However, overall we are extremely optimistic about the future of both the journal and the society. Even so, to better assure a successful outcome for both, we need to ensure that we continually position ourselves to better adapt to the ever-changing environment in which we operate.
To ensure this flexibility, now that the transition is complete and the society launched, we need to examine where we have been, where we are, where we are headed, and, most importantly, how we manage the necessary changes to ensure future success. The initial steps in formulating the processes to accomplish all of this are now being taken. Through a cooperative agreement with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and its National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, we are able to announce that the journal will have a fulltime managing editor by the time you read this editorial. Our first goal will be to review all aspects of the editorial process, including board and associate board appointments, terms, responsibilities, and qualifications; manuscript processing; journal content and features; society relationships; and overall quality control. This review will drive a major journal and society board meeting that will be held in early December and supported by a grant from the Johns Hopkins University.
To prepare for this very important event, we hope that you will forward any comments, ideas, or suggestions to us within the next few weeks to firstname.lastname@example.org. We have already solicited input on a more limited basis, and this has led to 2 promising changes; the first is incorporated within this journal issue and the second will be discussed at the December meeting. The first concept is to better use the expertise of our board members in the editorial space. We have begun this effort with Dr Cham Dallas’ editorial on radiation and nuclear preparedness. The second concept, whose details are being finalized, is to have a dedicated responders’ page as a standard journal feature under the responsibility of an identified board member. For one or both of these initiatives, we invite your input early, as we would like to avoid having to retrofit the piece to the extent possible.
As one would infer from Shakespeare's quote heading this editorial, we cannot predict which concepts will be doable going forward. To do this, we must first plant all of the seeds and then nurture and tend those that are the most promising. In our field, no one person or entity can manage the diverse crop required, and if we do not establish a true community garden, the chaff will be inseparable from the wheat.