December is a natural time to look back at all you accomplished over the past 12 months. One of the advantages of working for a magazine is the tangible evidence each issue provides. It’s all there in black and white, and I’m proud of the stories our talented team of editors shared with you this year.
In March, Joe Paone penned a wonderful portrayal of Angela Hohn and Brenda Ulmer, two surgical nurses who are working tirelessly to get mandatory surgical smoke evacuation legislation passed in Georgia. Their efforts provide a blueprint for others to follow as the smoke-free movement spreads across the nation.
Jared Bilski had the pleasure to speak with Dr. Demetrio Aguila III, the surgeon who lets patients pay for procedures with service hours and who’s on a mission to bring affordable surgical care to the masses. Jared’s outstanding ghostwritten piece highlights the April issue.
In May, Danielle Bouchat-Friedman authored an excellent profile of Dr. Graeme Rosenberg, the surgical resident at Stanford Health Care who’s using creative and informative sketches to help train the next generation of surgeons.
The July issue featured Adam Taylor’s fantastic telling of Brett Johnson’s transition from “Original Internet Godfather” to FBI informant who’s now helping to protect vulnerable online data from lurking cybercriminals.
Dr. Auriel August, who graced the cover of our June issue, is passionate about being a visible face in the push for more diversity in surgery and advancing access to surgical care for all patients. Sandra Lindsay, the first American to be vaccinated, highlighted our February issue. Florence Rigney, who at 96 was the oldest working nurse in America until her recent retirement, certainly earned top billing in our September issue.
It’s not just the people who appear on our covers who inspire us. You all do amazing work to provide safe, sustainable, equitable and cost-effective care. It’s the conversations we have with you that energize and sustain us.
The virtual world is impacting how we connect with sources. Over the past several months, many experts assume we want to talk through Zoom or Teams and respond to requests for interviews with links to virtual meetings instead of cell numbers.
That has taken some getting used to and isn’t necessarily conducive to connecting with busy surgical professionals who might only be available during off hours and weekends.
I’ve made early morning phone calls to thought leaders before showering, while slinging dinner plates to my kids, in the parking lots of restaurants and fresh off the beach with sunburned skin and windblown hair — looks and circumstances that wouldn’t play well on camera.
That said, I’m buying into virtual interviews. They allow me to feed off the facial expressions of the people I’m talking with and see which avenues are worth pursuing. The connections are more personal and at times more insightful.
My conversation with Dr. Tomoaki Kato, the inspirational subject of this month’s cover story, was done virtually. I might have gotten the same information from him over the phone, but wouldn’t have sensed his emotions as he recounted his incredible journey from an ICU bed to the NYC Marathon.
So the next time we reach out to talk, let us know if you’re up for a video chat. We look forward to seeing what you’re doing to advance surgical care and can’t wait to share your insights in one of next year’s issues. OSM