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Editor’s Memo

Bigger and Better Things

Sonja Sherritze

Midway between the Liberty Bell and City Hall, just a block or two off of busy Market Street, sits an inconspicuous Starbucks (store number 85 gazillion in the northern hemisphere). The first time I passed it, the smell of breakfast grease wafting through the air, I knew I had to be getting close to Dr. David Nash’s office. It’s hard to miss the overhead sign for Jefferson Hospital, of course, but the steady stream of docs in scrubs, going in and out of the corner Starbucks is, for me, anyway, the telltale sign that you’re getting close to the action.

Dr. Nash was not in the hospital when I first met him; he was in his office around the corner on 10th and Walnut. On subsequent trips into Philly, I would invariably see him in one of a handful of buildings on the campus of Thomas Jefferson University (TJU), chatting animatedly and zipping from room to room. Or if he happened to be moderating a lecture series or conference, I would often find him near the front of the auditorium with his trademark train whistle in hand, ready to summon participants back into the meeting after their pager/beeper breaks. If you couldn’t locate the peripatetic perfectionist himself, you could always find somebody on his staff; they were swarming the room(s), making sure all the fires had been put out and everything was proceeding apace.

You’ve read about a lot of the activity that emanates from such lectures, conferences, and other events that have taken place at Jefferson in Dr. Nash’s editorials. And by “Jefferson,” I mean the hospital, TJU, Jefferson Medical College, and the Office of Health Policy, which later became the Department of Health Policy and then led to the Jefferson School of Population Health. Dr. Nash is involved in all of it and is responsible for the success of a lot of it.

Many of you have been reading Dr. Nash’s column and learning about developments at Jefferson since May 1999, when he took over as editor-in-chief of P&T. You’ve read about the activities of Jefferson’s PharmacoEconomics and Cost Effectiveness (PEACE) committee and the medication errors subcommittee, and how they have grappled with difficult issues from preventing errors with high-alert medications to improving the monitoring of electrolytes and central venous pressure.

You’ve read about technology trends and the important work of organizations such as the Patient Safety Authority, the National Quality Forum, and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). You have learned about useful tools and resources (e.g., registries for chronic disease, electronic medical records, and Isabel, a decision-support system/diagnostic aid) as well as important people (e.g., benefit-based copayment gurus Mark Fendrick and Michael Chernew)—and you have undoubtedly pondered many of the other thought-provoking topics Dr. Nash has raised.

The editorials that have generated the greatest response, however, have touched on topics that are not unique to Jefferson or to Philadelphia. As some of you may recall, we received several letters in response to Dr. Nash’s editorial from last September, “It Takes a Village,” which dealt with the larger intractable national problem of managing hypertension. His editorial “Changing Diabetes Care” (March 2008) also elicited a positive response from readers, one of whom praised the editorial as “right on target and very timely.” I’m sure many of you had a similar response to this and to his numerous other editorials.

Alas, this is the last month that Dr. Nash’s editorials will appear regularly in P&T. As the dean of the still fairly new Jefferson School of Population Health, Dr. Nash’s responsibilities have increased and his activity level has surpassed his already hectic schedule. We would like to take this opportunity to thank him for 12 years of entertaining and informative editorials, and congratulate him on his many successes along the way. Fortunately for P&T, Dr. Nash will stay on as editor-in-chief; you just won’t see his column every month.

We welcome your reflections on Dr. Nash’s memorable editorials and, of course, on all of the content in P&T. Please feel free to get in touch with Dr. Nash at david.nash@jefferson.edu or with me at ssherritze@medimedia.com. Just as Dr. Nash is always moving on to bigger and better things, we at P&T are always striving to improve the journal as well. Your input is invaluable in making this happen.

So if you should ever find yourself heading to the Jefferson campus to attend one of Dr. Nash’s early morning lectures, there are many places to get your caffeine fix—including an unassuming Starbucks on 10th and Chestnut, conveniently located just steps from the hospital. And if you’re hanging around for lunch and your blood pressure is under control, then by all means, have a Philly cheesesteak and think of me—and Dr. David Nash.