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Year Two Begins!

Lawrence I. Bonchek, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.C.C.
Editor in Chief

The Journal’s first issue appeared in the Spring of 2006, so we are now officially entering our second year of publication. As we mark that milestone, there are several matters that I’m pleased to report.

Our website has now been open for a few months. We’re aware that it has not been completely bug-free, but we’ve been working diligently with our vendor to resolve the glitches, and by the time you receive this issue of the Journal, you should have no trouble accessing all the audio interviews, as well as all articles in either ‘HTML’ or ‘pdf’ formats. For those unfamiliar with those terms, let it suffice to say that the ‘pdf’ format is basically a snapshot of the printed page in the Journal. It is attractive and easy to read with free Adobe Acrobat software (for example, you can easily enlarge the font size). Unfortunately, it has the crucial deficiency that the text is not searchable.  We therefore provide ‘HTML’ because it is a text format that is searchable not only within our own website, but also by web search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Some minor typos do occasionally creep in during the process of reformatting the files. We expect that we will soon eliminate them also, and we apologize in advance for any we miss. If you notice any such errors, or hyperlinks that don’t function properly, please be sure to let us know so we can correct them.

We have begun surveying readers to ask if they enjoy the Journal and wish to continue receiving it. We can only survey a sample of the large number of physicians on our mailing list, and though we hope eventually to sample all categories of readers, our first mailing was to readers outside Lancaster County. We’re happy to report that of those responding from this peripherally located and thus adversely selected cohort, one half said they liked the Journal and wanted to keep receiving it.

We’ll continue to poll other segments of our readership and adjust our distribution in accordance with our findings.

It seems to me incontrovertible that LGH and F&M are the two intellectual centers of our community, and collaboration between these two great institutions will synergistically benefit not only them, but the medical community, and the community at large. That’s why I was very excited when LGH and F&M recently announced a partnership with the Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, PA, on the heels of an award by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation of a five-year Fellowship to Dr. Homes Morton, who founded the Clinic with his wife Caroline.

Readers of the Journal will recall that our inaugural issue contained a fascinating interview with Dr. Morton about the Clinic’s work, and for those who missed it, I urge you to listen on our website at http://www.jlgh.org/vol1_issue1.php.

The partnership agreement between Franklin & Marshall and The Clinic for Special Children will be highlighted by the following:

1. A series of annual public "Clinic for Special Children MacArthur Lectures" that will be addressed to students majoring in the sciences and to the scientific and medical professions. Over the next 5 years, Dr. Morton will give the inaugural lecture and another at a later date, and his associates at the Clinic, Drs. Kevin Strauss and Erik Puffenberger, will give the others.

2.Medical Genetics and the Plain People,” a course that Drs. Morton, Puffenberger, and Strauss have taught at F&M this year, will now become a regular part of the College's curriculum. They will also guest lecture in several other courses.

3. They will help establish a Bioinformatics program at the College to integrate disciplines such as genetics, computer science, and biochemistry with biology.

4. A new Cell and Molecular Biology Teaching Laboratory will be established in the College's new Life Sciences and Philosophy building. A $500,000 gift from Lancaster General will support the partnership and the work of the teaching laboratory.

5. Students who complete certain requirements may apply to do independent study and summer research at The Clinic.

We are never surprised to learn that a member of our outstanding medical staff has done something notable, but the achievements of Holmes Morton and his associates are in a class of their own, and the MacArthur Fellowship confirms it.

Most of us are aware that this Clinic is well known internationally, but it came home to me personally when I was lecturing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and was asked if I came from the place where the Amish children with metabolic errors were studied!

I mention these matters not only because they involve a member of our Medical Staff, but because there is an implication in this story for the future of our entire medical community. Though the volume of car traffic may dissuade us, there’s still no denying that Lancaster is a small city and a rural county, and for that reason some physicians are attracted here and others are not. But for Lancaster to continue providing exceptional health care, we must be able to keep recruiting top notch doctors. Since physicians are dedicated to lifelong learning, most want to be where the medical community is intellectually active even if they prefer a small municipality. The LGH/F&M agreement with the Clinic affirms that Lancaster’s top intellectual institutions value scientific inquiry, and are committed to keeping this community on the intellectual forefront of health care.

I hope others agree that we can all be personally proud to be part of a medical community where Holmes Morton, Erik Puffenberger, and Kevin Strauss carry out their remarkable work.

On another, and considerably less significant level, but one that forms another link between the Hospital and the College, this Journal had two F&M undergraduates as interns this past semester. We offered an experience editing manuscripts to about a dozen students who expressed interest in becoming science writers, and we selected two students from those who came forward. We hope to continue the program next year.

Lastly, as you peruse the Table of Contents. I trust you will agree that this issue once again presents a fascinating variety of articles across the gamut of medical practice.

I particularly want to point out that Dr. Scott Deron’s article on the hot topic of CRP draws on his exceptional expertise on this subject. He is the author of the 2003 book for patients: “C-Reactive Protein : Everything You Need to Know About It and Why It's More Important Than Cholesterol to Your Health.”

Dr. Paul Casale’s article on the LGH experience with rapid intervention for acute myocardial infarction reveals an enviable record of quickness in a field where it is axiomatic that “Time is Muscle.” The cardiologists at LGH, building on a protocol first introduced by Dr. Seth Worley of The Heart Group in 1988, began to shorten the “door-to-balloon” time at LGH long before it became a national obsession. As a result, the intervals to intervention at LGH have already achieved the goals set out in the joint guidelines of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association.

That’s all from me for now. I leave you to explore the many other informative articles in this issue. Have a great summer! We’ll see you in September.