Curiosity in medicine: An interview with JOM’s editor in chief

The Journal of Osteopathic Medicine recently received a Journal Impact Factor (JIF), which has bolstered the journal’s credibility and prestige in the research world. JOM Editor-in-Chief Ross Zafonte, DO, shares his journey into research and the journal’s goals.


At the helm of the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine (JOM) is Ross Zafonte, DO, who holds numerous prestigious leadership roles that include being the president of Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, professor and chair of Harvard Medical School’s physical medicine and rehabilitation department and the editor in chief (EIC) of the JOM, to name a few.

The JOM recently received a Journal Impact Factor (JIF), which has bolstered the journal’s credibility and prestige in the research world. Therefore, it only seems fitting to highlight Dr. Zafonte’s journey into research and the mentality he has adhered to throughout his education and career.

When asked about his mindset from med school onward and how it has led to the attainment of prestigious leadership positions, Dr. Zafonte wanted to convey the following to rising leaders in the osteopathic community: Be curious.

“I was fortunate to have great mentorship and the motivation to be curious,” said Dr. Zafonte. “And if I can impart something to our younger leaders of the future, it would be to be curious, thoughtful and professional. Curiosity drove me into clinical research and a number of other positions.”

Dr. Zafonte notes that seeking great mentors fostered an interest in research throughout his career.

“Getting opportunities to take special programs and courses about research, having the experience of participating in meetings, developing relationships with people in the field and holding myself accountable to measures and metrics” are all factors that contributed to fostering the role of research throughout his career.

And when it comes to his role as JOM EIC, Dr. Zafonte stresses the fact that teamwork has played a large part in the journal’s success.

“My mantra is always teamwork,” he said. “We have a great editorial advisory board; a great director, Hunter Alexander; and our team really encourages osteopathic physicians to submit great articles, and we’re pushing for even more.” As a result, the team at the JOM has seen an increase in submissions to the journal.

However, the efforts don’t stop there—Dr. Zafonte says the team is always asking themselves what else they can be doing better to elevate the osteopathic profession.

“How can we stimulate the next generation of curious people?” and “What can we do to encourage osteopathic medical schools and physicians to submit the highest quality of research?” are among the considerations of the team. Achieving the milestone of the JIF will also help propel the journal to receive even more high-quality manuscripts in the future.

Dr. Zafonte notes, “if the osteopathic profession is doing the work [in research], we want to hear about their work.”

When asked for words of encouragement and inspiration for our osteopathic community to conduct more research (which includes osteopathic physicians such as myself who have not conducted research since graduating from residency), Dr. Zafonte emphasizes the following.

“Let’s not be afraid,” he said. “Let’s get the expertise we need. Let’s do the things that can make a difference. Let’s say we’re trying to push the field to move forward. Let’s try to get better every day. Let’s do it.”

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of The DO or the AOA.

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