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The JAOA’s new editor-in-chief seeks section editors

Ross Zafonte, DO, the JAOA’s new editor-in-chief, is carrying forward the strategic agenda of advancing osteopathic medical research by revising the way articles are evaluated and presented in the JAOA.

Ross Zafonte, DO, is the new editor-in-chief of The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA). Dr. Zafonte, Earle P. and Ida S. Charlton Professor and chairman of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, succeeds Robert Orenstein, DO, a distinguished chair of the division of infectious diseases at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. Dr. Orenstein held the position from 2014 to 2020.

‘Ideal person’

“Dr. Zafonte is the ideal person to lead another wave of the charge to increase the commitment to research in our profession,” said Dr. Orenstein. “He has been a transformative and successful leader in the practice of rehabilitative medicine at several premiere medical institutions. He is a team-based leader who knows how to do big things, and I look forward to watching how his efforts will advance the mission of the JAOA.”

Dr. Zafonte has published and presented extensively on traumatic brain injury, spasticity and other neurological disorders. He is the author of more than 300 peer-reviewed journal articles, abstracts and book chapters.

His work is presently funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, and he is currently directing several large clinical treatment trials. His laboratory work has focused on understanding mechanisms of recovery after brain and spinal cord injury.

Call for JAOA section editor applications

Dr. Zafonte is carrying forward the strategic agenda of advancing osteopathic medical research by revising the way articles are evaluated and presented in the JAOA. He is looking for section editors to assist him in this endeavor.

Beginning this month, manuscripts will be assigned to a section editor whose area of expertise matches the focus area of the paper; should the section editor deem that manuscript worthy of peer review, he or she will be responsible for selecting two to three experienced reviewers in that category and synthesizing their comments into a meaningful, robust set of feedback for each JAOA author.

Accepted manuscripts will also be presented in the JAOA by section/domain category beginning in 2021 so readers can easily find the osteopathic research most relevant to their practices.

Each section editor will be responsible for:

  • Evaluating submitted articles in his or her specialty/domain area in a timely fashion, maintaining the JAOA’s 30-day time-to-first-decision
  • Developing a list of reliable reviewers in his/her specialty/domain area and recruiting new ones
  • Reading and synthesizing reviewer comments into an accurate and meaningful response to authors
  • Identifying “gap areas” of research in his/her specialty where topics could be invited and developed
  • Soliciting and recruiting new authors and topics in collaboration with the JAOA’s Editorial Office
  • Overall, maintaining (and advancing) a rigorous level of scientific vetting
  • Acting as an enthusiastic ambassador for the JAOA’s mission and strategic development plan

JAOA editors are specifically seeking applications for section editors in the following specialty/domain areas:

  • Musculoskeletal medicine and pain
  • Cardiopulmonary medicine
  • Public health and primary care
  • Neuromusculoskeletal medicine
  • Obstetrics and pediatrics
  • Behavioral health

Please send applications to Melissa Schmidt, director of the JAOA. They should be submitted by email: They must include:

  • Your CV
  • A cover letter that details your interest in the position, your own research experience, your academic appointment, any previous involvement with the JAOA, and information about any other journal-related scholarly activity

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