For 21 years the voice that thousands of doctors have associated with Medical Economics has been that of Outside Copy Editor Helen McKenna. In June of 1983 Helen joined the staff as an administrative assistant in the division that was responsible for liaison with physicians who wanted to submit manuscripts for publication. During the tenure of two supervisors, Helen broadened the scope of her job, and, in 1997, stepped into the division-head role.
When I say that thousands of doctors think "Helen" when they think of the magazine, I'm not exaggerating. Last year alone she fielded more than 600 queries and proposals. The vast majority were from physicians. Over 21 years, the number of submissions we get hasn't changed much, so that's well over 10,000 physicians Helen's worked with. Even if you knock the figure down some to account for authors who've written multiple pieces for us, the number would still be impressive.
And Helen helps every one of them, warmly and graciously. Whether a doctor is looking for suggestions on how to submit a manuscript, guidance in what will make an acceptance more likely, or an extension on the Writing Contest deadline, Helen provides sound advice, practical tips, and a gentle elbow to the Editor who's holding up the acceptance decision because she hasn't gotten to reading a submission yet.
Helen's last day in the office will be Sept. 3. She's wisely getting out before the real onslaught of Writing Contest manuscripts hits at the end of October. If you're one of the thousands of doctors Helen's helped over the years, why not drop her a line (e-mail address: hmckenna@ advanstar.com; snail mail address: 5 Paragon Drive, Montvale, NJ 07645). I know she'd love to hear from you.
And Helen, we thank you for being the ever-diplomatic ambassador you've been to our reader-authors over the years. We wish you well and send you on your way with the words you've used so often to those thousands of physicians over the years: Please write!
P.S. Helen would never forgive me if I didn't extend to all who read this the same exhortationPlease write! You'll find details about the Writing Contest here.
Marianne Mattera. Memo from the Editor: Goodbye, Helen.
Aug. 6, 2004;81:6.