From the Space Age to the Information Age: Consultant Evolves to a Digital Publication
As the first issue of Consultant arrived in mailboxes in April 1961, President Kennedy had just signed the Peace Corps into existence, the Bay of Pigs Invasion in Cuba had begun and failed, the Space Race was in full sprint, US involvement in Vietnam was mounting, and the Civil Rights Movement was about to boil over.
In medicine, antibiotics were a nascent therapy, the oral contraceptive pill had been approved less than a year prior, and Johns Hopkins researchers only months earlier had presented findings about a new lifesaving technique called cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The measles vaccines, the first liver transplant, the first β-blocker, and the first portable ultrasound scanner were years away. The internet? As unfathomable in the Space Age as beaming aboard a starship is in the Digital Information Age.
The authors of the inaugural Consultant wrote on pitfalls in diagnosing infertility (including the “husband’s role in the barren marriage”), treating sinusitis in children (including the difficulty of getting older kids, “who consider it ‘sissy’ [or ‘square’] to wear hats and rubbers,” to bundle up in cold, damp weather), and the physical signs of neurosis (“The wearing of dark glasses when the sun is not out … is a custom commonly indulged in by highly emotional people”).
Medicine has since been transformed by technology, and so too have the ways of sharing vital clinical information. That’s why we are excited to announce that Consultant is evolving to a completely digital format beginning in January.
This evolutionary step not only enables Consultant to take full advantage of the robust presentation of content possible only in the digital format, but also allows you to easily and immediately read, share, and save peer-reviewed articles, case reports, photo quizzes, and more anywhere, any time, across devices and media.
While medicine has changed dramatically since 1961, Consultant’s mission has not wavered and will continue with each digital issue. Walter A. Munns, then-president of the journal’s early publisher, wrote in the first issue that articles were to be “written by the people (the “Consultants”) who have something to say and who say it plainly and concisely. … What they have to say in this and future issues is not likely to be startlingly new, nor highly technical or theoretical. Instead, what they have to say is more likely to be called practical, and, we hope, useful to you.” That enduring Consultant credo, written nearly 6 decades ago, will continue to be the digital lodestar.
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Michael Gerchufsky, ELS, CMPP
Managing Editor, Consultant