CHICAGO — The American Medical Association today announced that Howard Bauchner, MD, will step down as editor-in-chief of JAMA and JAMA Network™, effective June 30, 2021. Dr. Bauchner had been on administrative leave while a review of a JAMA podcast and tweet about structural racism in medicine was in process.

“I remain profoundly disappointed in myself for the lapses that led to the publishing of the tweet and podcast.  Although I did not write or even see the tweet, or create the podcast, as editor-in-chief, I am ultimately responsible for them,” said Dr. Bauchner.

“I share and have always supported the AMA’s commitment to dismantling structural racism in the institutions of American medicine, as evident by numerous publications in JAMA on this issue and related subjects, and look forward to personally contributing to that work going forward. To advance equity in medicine, my contributions will be best accomplished in other venues. The best path forward for the JAMA Network, and for me personally, is to create an opportunity for new leadership at JAMA. I’m grateful for having had the privilege to serve as editor of JAMA for ten years and to build a substantial foundation for the future. I will miss the sheer joy, exhilaration and intellectual stimulation that being editor-in-chief has been and the people I have worked with and met the last 10 years. I thank them all.”

During Dr. Bauchner’s leadership of JAMA, the Archives journals were renamed, four new journals—JAMA Oncology (2015), JAMA Cardiology (2016), JAMA Network Open (2018) and JAMA Health Forum (2021)—were also launched. Both the journals and the website were also redesigned. Under his editorship the journals embraced social media, with followers of JAMA increasing from about 15,000 in 2011 to over 1,000,000 in 2021. Podcasts, videos, and new, shorter article types became part of the daily offerings. Views of content for JAMA reached a record high in 2020, with over 100M downloads of content, 5M listens of its podcasts, and 16M views of its videos.  

“Howard has made many visionary decisions during his time as editor-in-chief of JAMA—decisions which have greatly enhanced all of the journals of the JAMA Network. His record as editor-in-chief and his many contributions to medical journalism over the last ten years speak to his accomplishments,” said AMA CEO James L. Madara, MD. “I also acknowledge the substantial contributions of the Journal Oversight Committee (JOC) over the decade of Howard’s editorship. The JOC’s dual important roles of protecting editorial independence while working with the editor-in-chief to assure quality and ongoing publication enhancement, supported Howard in achieving these accomplishments.”

JAMA Executive Editor Phil Fontanarosa, MD,  will serve as interim editor-in-chief until a new editor is appointed.

The AMA has begun to form a search committee to start the process of appointing a new editor-in-chief. The chair of this committee will be Otis Brawley, MD, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Oncology and Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University. He served as chief medical and scientific officer and executive vice president of the American Cancer Society. In that capacity, Dr. Brawley twice chaired the search committee for the editor-in-chief of the journal Cancer. Other members of this committee will be named in the near future.

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