Black health-equity advocate named JAMA editor-in-chief

A yr following the prestigious health-related journal JAMA was embroiled in controversy around a podcast observed as racist by critics, the American Healthcare Association has appointed a outstanding well being-equity researcher as the publication’s new editor-in-main — the 1st particular person of color to maintain the place.

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a Black internist, epidemiologist, and overall health-fairness researcher from the College of California, San Francisco, who has been a primary voice for equitable well being care through the Covid-19 pandemic, will direct the Journal of the American Medical Association and the JAMA network of journals, the AMA announced Monday.

Bibbins-Domingo is replacing Howard Bauchner, a Boston pediatrician who held the position for 10 years, right until he stepped down in June 2021 just after JAMA aired a podcast and posted a tweet questioning no matter whether structural racism exists in medication. That incident led to an outcry around what several noticed as deeply embedded structural racism in the journals and for getting editors and editorial boards that had been overwhelmingly white.


Bibbins-Domingo, a professor of drugs and chair of the Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the UCSF College of Medicine, co-launched the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Just lately named to the inaugural Standing listing, STAT’s compilation of the most influential leaders in the life sciences, Bibbins-Domingo has invested her job concentrated on erasing overall health disparities, particularly in cardiovascular treatment. Speaking to reporters Monday, she identified as the new place “truly a dream task.”

In an interview, Bibbins-Domingo told STAT that a person motive she took the work was that she was certain that JAMA management had by now taken techniques to handle racism and bias, like employing a wellbeing equity editor at every single of the community journals. (A wellbeing fairness editor at the flagship journal JAMA is to be named shortly.) She said she would keep on to thrust for extra range amid editors as well as supplemental adjustments. “I’ve definitely arrive to value how a great deal we need to have new voices in these discussions,” she reported.


She will begin her new place on July 1, using over for Phil Fontanarosa, who has served as interim editor-in-main considering the fact that Bauchner’s departure. She is the 2nd girl to guide the journals Johns Hopkins College pediatrician Catherine D. DeAngelis held the position from 2000 to 2011.

Asked at a news conference about issues that health and fitness equity analysis had long been marginalized in JAMA journals, Bibbins-Domingo said that will no lengthier be the circumstance. “Health equity operate to me is not individual do the job. It is one of the major issues in modern-day medicine and modern wellness treatment and in culture at substantial,” she stated.

Bibbins-Domingo explained she even now remembered the thrill of getting a paper printed in JAMA as a younger researcher and mentioned she experienced in several situations witnessed her own JAMA publications direct to alter in each medical practice and plan. She stated this was 1 explanation that it was vital that JAMA remain a dependable voice, and a voice that advances the wellness of all clients. She claimed the wellbeing disparities during the Covid-19 pandemic are only widening, producing it apparent that continued concentration on this kind of issues is important.​​

The worth of the journal in her personal and professional existence, she reported, was 1 explanation the now-notorious podcast was significantly troubling for her. “It was distressing for me mainly because I do glimpse to JAMA and to the substantial-profile journals to condition the way medicine will move in the upcoming,” she explained to STAT. “It reflected a scientific blind location and you never ever want that to occur in a journal.”

She went on to say “the naming of structural racism … is significant to knowledge well being and to comprehending the stark inequities we see in wellness.” She explained that a great deal of the “blindness” to this sort of difficulties “has to do with who is in the home generating decisions” and that diversity would be a critical concentrate for her. “We have seen that numerous teams are sturdy teams,” she reported.

The appointment was achieved with rapid applause on Twitter. “Bravo and simply cannot wait for your leadership in this role,” mentioned Utibe R. Essien, an assistant professor of medication at the University of Pittsburgh. “This is enormous information and a fantastic preference,” tweeted Jeremy Faust, an ER physician and editor-in-main of MedPage Right now.

Even some of JAMA’s fiercest critics lauded the shift. “Really psyched to see this,” tweeted Stella Safo, an HIV health practitioner in New York who assisted start a petition push towards JAMA previous 12 months.

“See now I’m gonna have to rethink my latest and continued boycott of @JAMAcurrent” tweeted Monica McLemore, editor-in-main of the journal Well being Equity and a researcher who studies reproductive health and rights in marginalized communities.

Ray Givens, a cardiologist at Emory who analyzed the deficiency of racial diversity among the editors at JAMA, referred to as the final decision a excellent decision. “I predicted them to opt for a girl of color, to protect them selves in opposition to a lot more criticism,” he explained to STAT. “But it was also the ideal detail to do.”

Added Siobhan Wescott, director of American Indian Overall health at the University of Nebraska Healthcare Middle, who criticized the JAMA podcast: “She’s going to be a welcome breath of clean air.”

The lookup for a new editor was led by Otis Brawley, a Black professor of oncology and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University whose research focuses on closing racial, economic, and social disparities in drugs. The 18-member look for committee was extremely diverse and used months in its research for a new leader. JAMA is a single of the world’s most prestigious and greatly circulated health-related journals. The journals are editorially unbiased from the American Health-related Association.

“Dr. Bibbins-Domingo is a to start with-amount physician-scientist with wide and deep qualifications spanning biochemistry, medical science, populace science and academic study,” Brawley claimed in a statement. In addition to her work at UCSF, Bibbins-Domingo served as a member, vice chair, and chair of the U.S. Preventive Products and services Task Force. Brawley reported her perform guiding this kind of sophisticated enterprises “uniquely qualifies her to be JAMA’s following editor-in-main.”

Some editors in JAMA were being unsatisfied Bauchner stepped down, declaring it was an overreaction to the podcast, which Bauchner was not right involved with creating. It aired in February 2021 and concerned a conversation between Ed Livingston, a deputy editor of JAMA, and Mitchell Katz, the president and CEO of New York City Health and fitness and Hospitals.

Bibbins-Domingo reported she could not comment on Bauchner’s departure considering the fact that she was not involved in the decision, but said that she observed the complications at JAMA as not remaining about an personal but currently being about “understanding that when a voice for American science and medication nationally and globally has created a oversight they place factors into spot to proper that.”