It is with great enthusiasm that I assume the role of editor in chief of the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine. This wonderful journal, supported by its active and intellectually curious readership, leads the way in communicating important findings and providing guidance to practicing pathologists in a wide variety of specialty areas. As the peer-reviewed journal of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), its scope is broad and its impact national and international. The support of the CAP, with its powerful educational mission, is a cornerstone of the journal's success, but it is also the commitment of the CAP and its president, Patrick Godbey, MD, to independent oversight that assures the scientific integrity of its content. I am humbled by the decision to appoint me as the next editor in chief and pledge to merit the trust of the readership impacted by this decision.
Looking back at the accomplished editors in chief who have served in the past, the Archives has enjoyed outstanding leadership in varied subspecialty areas. The recent tenure of Philip T. Cagle, MD, was a tremendous success, raising the journal's impact factor by altering the content to meet the needs of the readership while also incorporating a mission of inclusion and engagement, especially for young pathologists. He led a diverse group of section, associate, and deputy editors, drawing upon their skills and support. The continued contributions of the Archives Editorial Board account for a large part of the journal's success. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the dedicated efforts of Donna E. Hansel, MD, PhD, while serving as interim editor in chief and for her generosity of time and thoughtful insight during the transition. Dr. Hansel will resume serving in the role of deputy executive editor of the journal.
A common trait of prior Archives editors in chief is these individuals had links to both clinical practice and innovation to engage practicing pathologists with current guidelines as well as future practices. I have been fortunate to work in academic environments rich in mentoring and opportunity, under the seasoned leadership of chairs with long tenure. As what some may refer to as being an “early adopter,” I continue as a bridge between established practice and innovation. Along the way, I have been mindful of keeping colleagues up to date with these innovations through teaching. For Archives, this balance is more important than ever and assessing innovation with high likelihood of practice change in the near future is a crucial role for the editor in chief.
Another important area for practicing physicians is quality assurance and compliance, and the incorporation of this structure into practice. My own interest in the CAP early on stemmed from its role in inspection readiness and best practices. There is no doubt that pathologists, as well as all the staff in the laboratory, provide and take pride in what I have called diagnostic patient care; dedication to the accuracy and timeliness of that care is an often unsung element of our practice. During the past year we have seen the importance of accuracy and timeliness in the performance and reporting of COVID-19 testing. We have seen critical insights into the safe performance of autopsy along with renewed recognition of its vital role, especially when facing a new disease. Perhaps now more than ever, all laboratories need the support and information provided by accurate peer-reviewed content. For this reason, all articles submitted to the Archives are subject to peer review. This includes COVID-19 articles posted on the Archives Web site (https://meridian.allenpress.com/aplm) as Early Online Releases. This approach balances the need for rapid dissemination of information while maintaining integrity of content. A special thanks to the editors, reviewers, and of course the highly dedicated journal staff, whose efforts make all this possible even in unprecedented times.
Looking to the future, the landscape of pathology includes anatomic and clinical pathology, but also molecular pathology and varied aspects of data science, including but not limited to informatics, bioinformatics, and digital pathology. All of these areas will stimulate changes in practice, and importantly, have the promise to expand the value of acquired data, both existing and novel. Pathology faces major challenges in this period of great innovation in molecular pathology, artificial intelligence, increasing compliance needs, greater sub-specialization, and emergence of new education routes via social media. We need to emphasize the things that unify us, as many of these exciting developments can also isolate smaller groups. Through its programs, the CAP performs a key role in guiding and maintaining excellence among pathologists with its annual meeting, and essential guidelines and laboratory standardization. The Archives must remain at the forefront of national and international prominence in supporting the education of and dissemination of key information to practicing pathologists, trainees, and all laboratory personnel. Its content needs to continue to reflect the needs of the readership in providing and advancing diagnostic patient care.
I hope this editorial reflects my deep respect for this outstanding journal and the team that supports it, as well as my commitment to further enhance its elevated status among practicing pathologists.