I was asked to start this journal in October 2003 by the Publishers, Lori Auer-Smith and Stuart Smith. They had twin children, and the girl had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 5. After the diagnosis they had taken her from healthcare professional to healthcare professional, finding a big discrepancy in care. And so they wanted to start a journal to give consistent information to healthcare professionals.
I was working on a New Drug Application (NDA) for FDA marketing approval, so my contribution was part-time until December. However, by December, I had assembled an Editorial Board, convinced some of its members to send in articles, designed a layout and had put together a calendar of events.
Between the first week of December and the last week of January I put together the journal. This involved heavy, heavy editing, ghost-writing 2 articles, writing all the magazine-style articles, doing all the layouts.
The Publishers meanwhile were busy trying to sell advertising. They decided to take the approach of offering a free ad in the first issue for a paying ad in the second issue.
Our first issue was published in January 2007, and 17,000 copies printed. Print copies were sent to every US endocrinologist and most diabetes educators.
The issue was very successful with respect to positive comments. Very unsuccessful financially. In early February I was told to hold off on the second issue and after February my payment ceased. This was $5,000 a month for all editing and layouts. Why did I do it all for such low pay? Because it was exciting and I wanted to.
A year later I produced an electronic second issue. And several months after that, an electronic third issue. By that time the Publishers were telling me they wanted to sell the journal, and with lack of financial incentive from me, I stopped all my work. Which meant the journal died. Meanwhile 3 hurricanes hit their house in Florida and serious illness struck their family. Calamity all round.
But AJoD did have a short and bright life. I was proud of what I had done.
The best part was talking with a lady with out-of-control diabetes. She was over 40, she had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a child. She had already rejected 2 pancreas transplants, and she was treating herself by injecting in the morning, not ever testing her blood sugars, and occasionally passing out during the day. I lent her a hard copy of the journal, she read the article on insulin pumps, called her healthcare professional and had one installed. This convinced me of the power of medical communication, and she was not the target audience. What if I put together a journal with information that the target audience can use directly? That is what we are trying to do with Medical Journal of Therapeutics Africa, create a dialog between pharmaceutical industry professionals in the US and Africa.
MJoTA has been published since 2006 by Emerald Pademelon Press LLC. PO Box 381 Haddonfield, NJ 08033, USA. MJoTA.org, MedicalWritingInstitute.org and drsusanna.org host MJoTA, and the Medical Writing Institute, which is a New Jersey nonprofit corporation. Inquiries for the Medical Writing Institute or Emerald Pademelon Press LLC: firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact the publisher directly through email, Twitter, Linkedin