University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

117 Years and Going Strong

Sarina Schrager, MD, MS, WMJ Interim Editor-in-Chief

WMJ. 2020;119(1):5.

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Published continuously since 1903, the Wisconsin Medical Journal is one of the longest-standing generalist journals in the world. And while it has been undergoing some changes in management, content remains the same.

The transition from being published by the Wisconsin Medical Society to The Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health continues to provide new opportunities for the journal. At the same time, the editors remain committed to providing high quality papers from researchers, educators, and clinicians in the Midwest. We encourage junior faculty to submit to the WMJ and spend a great deal of time working with young authors to improve their papers. Last year, we used nearly 100 peer reviewers, and each and every one contributed to the final outcome of an article. We thank all of them for their dedication and effort to help maintain the quality of this journal, and we encourage all readers to volunteer as a reviewer. (Sign up here.)

Because the WMJ is a generalist journal, we publish a wide range of papers about very disparate topics. Thus, we need both generalist and specialty reviewers. It is often helpful to the editorial team to get a sense of what our “general readers” think about a paper. If it is understandable and engaging even to someone with a different specialty, then it can be a valuable addition to the journal.

For example, in this issue alone, there are papers about clinical, educational, and health care utilization topics. Lodhi et al write about a patient who was hospitalized after taking an overdose of verapamil.1 The case report outlines how this calcium channel blocker caused acute respiratory distress syndrome. Hueston and Treat2 describe characteristics of applicants to the Medical College of Wisconsin’s regional 3-year campus and compare these applicants to people who apply to the Milwaukee campus’s traditional 4-year program. They found that applicants to the 3-year campuses were significantly older and had higher Medical College Admission Test scores. Bryan et al describe resource utilization of patients who access the patient portal through their electronic medical record.3 Perhaps surprisingly, they found that patients who use the patient portal actually had increased utilization of traditional formats of care as well.

This issue also includes review articles and a commentary on timely topics. Bizub and Allen review guidelines for creating a gender-affirming primary care practice;4 Wolf et al provide an overview of the array of pathogenic microorganisms carried by Ixodes scapularis ticks in the Upper Midwest;5 and Kalet et all share their views on allowing medical students to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.6

For faculty members at Wisconsin’s medical schools and for practicing physicians around the state, being a peer reviewer can have many benefits. Reviewers have the opportunity to learn about new topics or read updates on old topics. Serving as a reviewer is an opportune time to start thinking about your own writing as well. What worked well in this article? What didn’t work well?

Reviewing papers is an essential component of an academic job and is integral to the academic community as a whole. The editors also welcome senior faculty to mentor their junior partners or fellows in the reviewing process, thereby continuing the academic cycle.

The WMJ is an excellent resource for faculty, students, practicing physicians, and other clinicians. In order for it to remain relevant in the current medical environment, it’s essential that contributors, reviewers, and readers all engage in the process of reading, writing, and peer reviewing. Here’s to another 117 years.

  1. Lodhi F, Shogren S, Vedre J, Haque N, Reriani M, Ali R. Calcium channel blocker toxicity causing acute respiratory distress syndrome: a commonly used drug triggering a life-threatening condition. WMJ. 2020;119(1):66-68.
  2. Hueston W, Treat R. Medical education with 3-year regional campuses: do they attract a different type of applicant? WMJ. 2020;119(1):22-24.
  3. Bryan M, Norton D, Birstler J, Chen Guanhua, Cruz L, Hanrahan L. Resource utilization among portal users who send messages: a retrospective cohort study. WMJ. 2020;119(1):26-32.
  4. Bizub B, Allen B. A Review of clinical guidelines for creating a gender-affirming primary care practice. WMJ. 2020;119(1):8-15.
  5. Wolf M, Watkins H, Schwan W. Ixodes scapularis: Vector to an increasing diversity of human pathogens in the upper Midwest. WMJ. 2020;119(1):16-21.
  6. Kalet A, Jotterand F, Muntz M, Thapa B, Campbell B. Hearing the call of duty: what we must do to allow medical students to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. WMJ. 2020;119(1):6-7.