Variations on a theme

Traditionally Endocrine News hasn’t done theme issues where an entire issue is devoted to a single topic. The belief is that if you devote one issue to a single subject, it might not be of interest to your entire audience, especially an audience as diverse as the members of the Endocrine Society. However, when the topic warrants it, I feel that a theme issue could be vital and my hope is that it would serve as a keepsake that the reader would come back to time and again, or even share with colleagues.

In January, we addressed the Affordable Care Act with two articles about the future of endocrinology under the law, and in this issue we are featuring three articles around the topic of health disparities, a subject I became interested in my very first week at the helm of Endocrine News exactly one year ago. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Endocrine Society’s inaugural Health Disparities Summit in Baltimore, and it was an eye-opening experience to say the least. As a career journalist, I found myself overwhelmed with the new studies and information about health disparities, a subject I had never heard of until that point, but one that I found fascinating.

This focus on health disparities by the Society was spearheaded by past-president Janet Hall, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, during her tenure. She opened the summit and told the attendees that the broad goal was to bring together “thought leaders in health disparities and diabetes to have a meaningful discussion of what health disparities are trying to teach us from a scientific perspective and how we can best use the information that we have to provide the best possible treatment for our patients.”

So it is in that same spirit that we are presenting an issue of Endocrine News built around the topic of health disparities. Associate editor Derek Bagley interviewed a few speakers from last year’s summit in his article “Culture Clash” (p. 16), which asserts that in order to treat these patients most eff ectively, understanding their cultural mores is vital. The article offers up successful case studies from California and Texas. However, success only occurred with these patients once healthcare professionals truly understood their culture.

Diabetes is specifically addressed by Glenda Fauntleroy’s article “The Disparity of Diabetes” (p. 20) as she presents recent relevant study findings and talks to a number of physicians treating a disease that very clearly discriminates along racial lines. Likewise, Kelly Horvath’s “Across the Line” (p. 25) delves into the racial divide among thyroid disease patients.

So what do you think of this theme issue? Is it something you’d like to see more of or is it too narrow of a focus? Feel free to let me know at [email protected].

Mark A. Newman
Managing Editor, Endocrine News

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