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ACP History: Annals of Internal Medicine (Part Five) 1987 - 2010

The late 1980s brought several innovations and structural changes to the Annals of Internal Medicine. 1987 marked the beginning of Annals' publishing structured abstracts. The July 1, 1988 issue of Annals inaugurated the journal becoming a twice-monthly publication along with placing the issue's table of contents on the front cover. In 1989 The American College of Physicians moves its headquarters from 4200 Pine Street to its current location at Independence Mall West, Philadelphia. This enabled the publishing activities to be combined in one division. Dr. Edward Huth, the Editor of Annals since 1971 retired in June 1990, and was replaced the following month by Drs. Robert H. Fletcher and Suzanne W. Fletcher. The Fletchers were general internists and clinical epidemiologists. Before becoming editors of Annals, they served on the faculties of medicine and epidemiology at McGill Medical School and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

In 1991 Annals began to offer as a supplement ACP Journal Club, and the following year the first Spanish edition of Annals was launched. In 1992 an article in the journal critical of pharmaceutical advertising leads to a decline in such advertising in Annals. As a result, the College's Board of Regents again reiterates their support of independent editorial judgment for the Annals of Internal Medicine. In 1993 the Fletchers accepted appointments at Harvard Medical School and resigned from their Annals' editorship. Edward J. Huth returned as Interim Editor until a permanent editor could be found. At the same time, ACP's publishing activities were reorganized into two divisions: Annals and Publishing.

Dr. Frank Davidoff was named Editor of Annals in 1995. Prior to his editorship, Dr. Davidoff was active in basic molecular pharmacology and advanced clinical research. During his editorship he published research on the changes to manuscripts resulting from peer review and editorial processes. Dr. Davidoff also noted an increasing number of papers submitted to Annals coming from Europe and Japan. He fulfilled a request of the Cochrane Collaboration and the National Library of Medicine to review all previous issues of Annals published since 1948 to identify reports of randomized clinical trials. In 1996 Annals' editor announced the introduction of a more extensive policy on the disclosure of conflict of interest issues. During this period the journal also adopted the new guidelines of the Consolidated Standards of Reporting (CONSORT) to alleviate the problems arising from inadequate reporting of randomized controlled trials.

In 2000 the Annals Web site ( was launched. In June 2001 Dr. Davidoff retired as Annals' editor was replaced the following month by Dr. Harold C. Sox. Before becoming Annals' editor, Dr. Sox did clinical research on the application of decision analysis in selecting and interpreting diagnostic tests. He was a Professor of Medicine (Clinical) at Stanford University School of Medicine and Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School. Dr. Sox also served as a Regent of the College, chair of several ACP committees and in 1998-1999 President of the College. Dr. Sox introduced a new element to Annals' clinical research articles, Context notes. These notes summarize the place of the reported study in current medicine, serving as an editorial comment on a particular paper. Dr. Sox also sought to attract more original research articles, reports on quality improvement, clinical policy and articles advocating evidence-based medical decision-making.

Dr. Christine Laine

Upon Dr. Sox's retirement in July 2009, Dr. Christine Laine became the Editor of Annals and a Senior Vice President at the American College of Physicians. Dr. Laine is the youngest editor in the history of Annals of Internal Medicine, where she has served on the editorial staff since June 1995. Prior to joining Annals editorial staff, Dr. Laine received her medical degree from State University of New York at Stony Brook, and completed residency training in internal medicine at The New York Hospital (Cornell University), and a fellowship in general internal medicine and clinical epidemiology at Beth Israel Hospital (Harvard University). Laine earned a master of public health degree at Harvard University and served as an Assistant Professor, Division of Internal Medicine at Jefferson Medical College (Philadelphia) where she split her time between research, teaching, and clinical practice.

-Prepared April 2014 by Eric Greenberg, based on materials from the Archives of the American College of Physicians and, Rosenow EC Jr. History of the American College of Physicians: Executive Perspectives, 1959-1977. Philadelphia: American College of Physicians; 1984. Huth EJ, van Steenburgh KC. "Annals of Internal Medicine: the first 50 years." Ann Intern Med. 1977; 87:103-10, and Huth EJ, Case K (2002). Annals of Internal Medicine at Age 75: Reflections on the Past 25 Years". Ann Intern Med 137 (1): 34-45.