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Sharing a vision: conversation, global outreach and public engagement
  1. Brandy Schillace
  1. Correspondence to Dr Brandy Schillace, BMJ’s Medical Humanities, London; bls10{at}case.edu

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A year ago September, I wrote my first editorial for Medical Humanities as its Editor, sharing ideas for new directions. Now just past my 14th month in the role, it is my pleasure to report on the growth of those plans, largely shaped by you, our wonderful colleagues, editors, authors and readers. But I would like to begin with a question—a spikey question, at that. It has to do with inclusivity, with who and what counts, with whose ideas matter: what do we mean by we?

It has been our mission at Medical Humanities to offer a platform for conversation about (rather than a prescription for) intersections of health, humanities and medicine. We have aimed to hear from a wider group of people—from sociologists, practitioners and humanities disciplines, and to be mindful of the public, of community input, of patients and lay readers. We have also strived to include global voices, our focus for the coming year. But incorporating new voices means changing the way we listen. Medical Humanities welcomes and publishes rigorous, critical work, and we have this year presented articles from a broad group of incredibly talented scholars. It is an honour to bring them to print. But inherent in our very systems are obstacles to other, equally talented researchers and writers. This is particularly true of our medical humanities colleagues in under-represented nations, but could also be perceived in terms of accessibility more generally. To whom and for whom do we write? Bias has been built into our very evaluative systems, in publishing as in medicine. To overcome obstacles, we must be able to see them—and to see them through the eyes of others.

To that end, we have trialled several new projects at Medical Humanities. First, I am very pleased to point towards our renovated blog. This platform has a new look, and under the guidance of Blog Editor, Anna Mcfarlane, the purview has expanded. In addition to providing work by film and media correspondent Khalid Ali and global health correspondent Ayesha Ahmad, the blog regularly includes synopses of articles from the journal and audio ‘soundbites’ from authors meant for a lay audience of non-specialists. In fact, you may visit the blog for this present issue and hear what authors are saying about their work! We hope, by these means, to attract and support graduate students and early career scholars, and also to provide an avenue for sharing medical humanities with a global community through an accessible platform. Keep an eye out for the relaunch of our podcast in December, as we add another means of sharing the conversation—and for our December issue, the first Special Issue where all participants have come from South Africa or Nigeria.

We continue to welcome the whole field of medical and health humanities, and to support a mission of global and public outreach. Interdisciplinary conversation, global sharing, and public and community engagement may be considered the foundational platform for Medical Humanities, and we look forward to building on it into the future. For now, we are pleased to present the September issue, with its breadth of interest and multiple foci—and also a commentary on our June issue (Pain and its Paradoxes) as yet another way of continuing the conversation. Thank you for being part of our journey.

Footnotes

  • Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.