Commentary

Let’s recognize Dr. John Geyman, too


 

Thank you for your tribute to David Warfield Stires, The Journal of Family Practice’s founding publisher (J Fam Pract. 2017;66:654-655). The real hero of the story, however, is Dr. John Geyman, who had the vision to found a research journal at the birth of our specialty. This was no easy task, as John faced a challenging chicken-and-egg problem: how to establish a research journal when academic family medicine was just getting underway and had no track record of generating a steady stream of quality research. The latter problem was due, in part, to the lack of a research journal devoted to promoting and publishing research in the field.

Yet, John did it, putting family medicine research on the publishing map. His groundbreaking work set the stage for future journals, including the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, the American Medical Association’s now-defunct Archives of Family Medicine, and the American Academy of Family Physicians’ Annals of Family Medicine.

As a family medicine resident in the 1970s, I remember coveting JFP so much that I managed to collect every issue from Volume 1, Issue 1, through the turn of the century. And as a young faculty member at Georgetown University Medical Center in the 1980s, I painstakingly created an annotated bibliography of the then-published content of JFP to use for teaching, research, and administration.

When I became editor of American Family Physician in 1988, I made a pilgrimage to the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, where John was chairman of the Department of Family Medicine. I wanted to seek his advice, learn from his vast experience, and pay tribute to all that he’d done for our specialty. Over the past 30 years, John has continued to leave his mark. (See http://www.johngeymanmd.org/bio.html.)

A tribute to David Warfield Stires is incomplete without a corresponding acknowledgement and celebration of John’s decades-long visionary leadership in family medicine.

Jay Siwek, MD
Washington, DC

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