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  October 15, 2001

Health Center Faculty Continue
Strong Publishing Tradition

"Publish or perish," may once have been jocular advice for young academics, but the former thought seems to have stuck with Health Center faculty.

In 2000, the faculty published nearly 1,000 scholarly articles.

Considering the faculty numbers around 500, that yields a two paper per year average.

"I don't have a yardstick to compare with other institutions," says Bruce Koeppen, dean of academic affairs and education at the School of Medicine, "but I think the number is an indicator that there is a strong and vibrant academic focus among our faculty.

"The mission of an academy is to discover new knowledge and then disseminate it," he says, "and that's exactly what our medical school is doing: discovering new knowledge and publishing it."

In 2000, 997 papers were published; in 1999, 866. Since the data collection started five years ago, the trend has been up, reflecting a growing faculty and a consistently strong record of publication.

Dr. Koeppen ascribes the recent increase to strategic planning and faculty recruitment.

"Part of our strategic plan was to recruit and bring to the Health Center new and active researchers," he says. "I think the increase in scholarly publications is a direct reflection of that recruitment."

Collecting the information on who's publishing what, where, is a 21st-century task for the Lyman Maynard Stowe Library. Hongjie Wang, head of the library information services department, peruses databases - particularly the Dialog database - in search of published work by Health Center faculty. Once a year, he collects all the information, then ships it over to Sheryl Bai, network systems librarian, to arrange and systematize. When the information has been standardized, she posts her updated database on the Stowe library website.

The database serves a couple of purposes: it's an up-to-date record of the faculty's research efforts, but it also serves as a tool for other faculty to find out what their colleagues' research pursuits are. The library's database can be searched by name, department, keyword, journal title, or year of publication.

The journals publishing faculty papers range from the well known and prestigious - Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, Science, Nature and Cell - to the more specialized and esoteric: Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Journal of Cardiac Failure, Biogerontology.

In between, a sampling reveals there is a publication for nearly everybody practicing medicine or dentistry, or just interested in the basic sciences: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, American Journal of Cardiology, Circulation, Journal of Periodontal Research, Journal of Endodontics, International Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Implants; Genetics, Developmental Genetics, Journal of Biosciences.

William White, professor of medicine, is a clinician, a researcher, and sits on the board of a journal. In fact, he sits on the board of eight journals and edits his own: Blood Pressure Monitoring.

In a 20-year career, Dr. White has written about 300 scientific and scholarly articles and is in the process of editing a 10-volume series on hypertension.

He started his publication, he says, when he realized there were a lot of good papers on hypertension that were not being accepted

into currently published journals, because there simply was no space.

"I have a long-term interest in clinical hypertension in terms of blood pressure measurement," he says. "I didn't start the journal to compete with other journals or to vie with them; I started it to publish articles on new, interesting and up-to-date hypertension research."

George Mansoor, an assistant professor of medicine who is also a specialist in hypertension, is on the editorial board of the journal, which is published six or eight times per year. The board consists of 25 or 30 members from Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Brazil, the Netherlands, and Japan.

"Writing and publishing papers are activities that faculty in academic medical centers should be striving to do," White says. "We are experts in scientific and medical experiments and we must share the results of that experimentation with our colleagues.

"I enjoy the publishing process," he adds. "It's hard work and it can be relentless, but it's a rewarding activity."

Pat Keefe