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Journal of the American Medical Association Appoints First Black Editor-In-Chief

Journal of the American Medical Association Appoints First Black Editor-In-Chief

She’s the second woman to hold the position!

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo has made history as the first Black editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association, MedPage Today reports.

Bibbins-Domingo holds a degree in molecular biology from Princeton University and a master’s degree in clinical research from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). She got her start as a biochemist, studying under Nobel Prize-winning scientist Harold Varmus, who also served as former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  She is currently a professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UCSF, previously making history as the first vice dean for population health and health equity. Now she has made history again, becoming the first Black editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the JAMA Network. 

She spoke about the significance of her appointment, vowing to make the journal a “trusted voice,” again in medicine. 

“[Many things] shape how we think about health. It’s the responsibility of a journal like JAMA and the JAMA Network to be able to put science in context of these broader voices… I think there’s never been [a] more important time for JAMA to be that trusted voice,” said Bibbins-Domingo. 

From 2010 to 2017, Bibbins-Domingo served as part of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and as a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians and the National Academy of Medicine. Bibbins-Domingo is also co-founder of the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. 

American Medical Association EVP James L. Madara, spoke about Bibbins-Domingo’s appointment, saying, “[We are] tremendously pleased and fortunate to welcome Dr. Bibbins-Domingo as the new editor-in-chief ... As a physician, scholar, and leader, she has focused on health equity, on cardiovascular disease prevention -- top priorities for the AMA -- and more recently on COVID-19…I am confident Dr. Bibbins-Domingo -- with her remarkable professional background ranging from basic science to an array of scholarly approaches to clinical studies -- will effectively advance JAMA's mission that accelerates clinical research into practice at this critical time in health care in the U.S. and in global public health.”

Bibbins-Domingo was selected by an 18-person committee of academic and medical experts. She will take over for former JAMA editor-in-chief, Howard Bauchner, who resigned in June due to insensitive racialized comments he made on a podcast. Bibbins-Domingo acknowledged the ever-present racism in the medical field, noting that it is why it's even more important to use journals as a way to build trust and rapport with the community. 

"The entire scientific and medical enterprise has been plagued by the inability to acknowledge these important forces that shape the health of our patients. And we know that some of this blindness to seeing these forces has to do with who's in the room making the decisions, who's in the room conducting scientific studies, who's in the room shaping policy, [and] who's in the room deciding what gets published… [JAMA has an opportunity to] not only help readers make sense of our changing world, but to communicate science and scientific discovery in a way that actually advances clinical practice, advances the health of all of our patients, and improves the health of the population nationally and globally," she explained. 

Congratulations, Dr. Bibbins-Domingo. Because of you, we can!

Photo Courtesy of Social Innovation & Universal Opportunity Lab