Medical journal editor to step down

The editor-in-chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal will be leaving the position next year.

OTTAWA — The editor-in-chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal will be leaving the position next year.

Dr. Paul Hebert informed staff he won’t return to head up the journal once his five-year contract expires on Dec. 15, 2011, according to an article posted Wednesday on CMAJ’s website.

Hebert has held the position since January 2007. The article did not address what Hebert’s plans were once his term ends.

Hebert said the reason for his departure is a belief he has accomplished the primary objectives he’d set out for the journal upon assuming the post.

“I promised to basically resuscitate the journal. I promised to put it on solid footing and basically raise its international stature amongst the research community and I’ve done that,” he said.

Hebert said in the article that he feels that in the next phase of CMAJ’s growth the publication needs to develop some of its other pillars, like the e-journal and practice journal, and to strengthen and consolidate some of what he’s initiated. Hebert said he thinks this would best be done under different leadership.

Canadian Medical Association secretary general Paul-Emile Cloutier said Hebert “has been an agent of change for the CMAJ, managing to revitalize it during a challenging time in journal publishing.”

“In doing so, he and his team have further strengthened CMAJ’s independent and trusted voice on clinical practice, as well as health policy and research,” Cloutier said in a statement.

The CMA’s governing board will set up a search committee early next year to select Hebert’s successor.

While serving as editor-in-chief, Hebert retained his status as professor of medicine, surgery, anesthesiology and epidemiology at the University of Ottawa and his hospital privileges at the Ottawa Hospital.

While at the helm of CMAJ, he took on an appointment as strategic lead and adviser to Canadian Institutes of Health Research president Dr. Alain Beaudet in the development of a national clinical research program.

He left the CIHR position on June 30.