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Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo to Become the First Black Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association 

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The Journal of the American Medical Association recently announced the appointment of Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, M.D., Ph.D., M.A.S. as their upcoming editor-in-chief. 

With her new role, the epidemiologist and physician is the first Black woman and second woman to serve as the editor-in-chief for the medical journal. 

“We are tremendously pleased and fortunate to welcome Dr. Bibbins-Domingo as the new editor-in-chief where she will lead JAMA into a new era of publishing the groundbreaking research that is shaping the future of medicine and science,” said James L. Madara, M.D., the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President at AMA, in a press release.

“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,” he added.

The appointment of Dr.Bibbins-Domingo comes after the last editor-in-chief, Howard Bauchner, M.D, was forced to step down after a public outcry about a podcast and tweet that he allowed to be published. 

Both the podcast and tweet attempted to raise the question of whether structural racism in healthcare is real. In the wake of their publication, they received strong reactions from prominent individuals in the medical world such as the chief health equity officer of the American Medical Association, Aletha Maybank, M.D., as well as the JAMA readers. 

A Change.org petition created by the Institute for Antiracism in Medicine to get the journal to rethink Bauchner’s involvement in the publications and reform the editorial staff to focus on race and health was signed by over 10,000 readers. 

Dr. Bibbins-Domingo will take over from Phil Fontanarosa, M.D. who has acted as the interim editor-in-chief following Bauchner’s resignation.

Having received her degrees from the University of California, Dr. Bibbins-Domingo started her career as a biochemist and has gone on to serve as the first vice dean for population health and health equity at the USCF School of Medicine.

She also helped co-found the USCF Center for Vulnerable Populations at the San Francisco General Hospital, a research center dedicated to helping the communities that are most at risk and face the most disparities. 

From 2010 to 2017, Dr. Bibbins-Domingo was also part of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force where she eventually became the vice-chair and chair of the group of experts, serving as leader from 2014 to 2017. In this position, Dr. Bibbins-Domingo helped create and review research and guidelines for both doctors and patients.  

“Against this backdrop, a trusted voice for science, medicine, and public health has never been more important. JAMA and the JAMA Network represent an unparalleled platform for the very best science to reach the broadest audience and for advancing the discussions, debates and new ideas that will continue to shape health nationally and globally,” said Dr. Bibbins-Domingo of her new role in the press release. “I couldn’t be more excited to join as editor-in-chief.”

Dr. Bibbins-Domingo will officially start her term when she assumes her new position on July 1.

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