off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid


Medical Politicians and 
Functions of Medical Editors


Speaking at one of the plenary sessions during the recently held AEME conference on Medical Education at Aga Khan University on March 4, 2017, Prof. Janet Grant an eminent medical educationist from Open University UK also showed a slide where in the word Medical Politicians was prominently highlighted. When asked how would she define a Medical Politician, she said that “these are healthcare professionals who advice the Government, health authorities, regulatory bodies on Medical Education and Healthcare irrespective of the fact whether they are knowledgeable and competent to do so or not”. These medical politicians are found in every country and at times they make a mess of everything since they most often have their own vested interests and they are seldom interested to make any meaningful contribution in any field. They also need to be tackled and it becomes the responsibility of the Medical Editors to treat them apart from performing their other functions.

Other functions of the Medical Editor include not only accepting and rejecting the manuscripts received for publication but to educate, teach and train the healthcare professionals in the art of medical writing, science of scientific publishing, organize hands on workshops, seminars, symposia and medical conferences  on Medical Writing, Peer Review, Scientific Misconduct, Publication Ethics etc., providing opportunities to members of the medical profession to keep themselves abreast in the field of Journal ology and Medical Journalism. Experienced Medical Editors are also supposed to run training courses for their editor colleagues thus sharing the knowledge and experience.  Journalology in fact has now emerged as a discipline in its own right with numerous sub-specialties.

While treating Medical Politicians, Medical Editors have to be extremely careful as they are not only very powerful but also vindictive hence, they should be prepared to face the music. However, it is also essential that Medical Editors remain honest to the profession they have chosen and uphold professional ethics while discharging their duties and responsibilities. They have to be the keeper of the conscience of a profession and as one of the former eminent Medical Editors remarked, if they strive for this ideal, they will most often remain in trouble. However, they are expected to be courageous, honest and ethical in their own conduct so that no one can point any finger on them.   This is by no means an easy task but if they are themselves ethical, only then they will be able to make any difference thereby contributing a great deal in ensuring ethical medical practice by healthcare professionals.

Tail Piece: Four characters which if cultivated guarantees success. Discipline, Concentration, Patience and Persistence.

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