Rhee Named CJASN Editor-in-Chief

Karen Blum
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Connie Rhee, MD, MSc, assumed the editor-in-chief role for the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN) this month, becoming the first female editor of one of the most widely read nephrology journals in the United States.

Rhee, chief of nephrology at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles, served on the journal's editorial board since 2018 and had been an ad hoc reviewer since 2013. She spoke with Kidney News (KN) about her vision and goals.

KN: What interested you in becoming editor of this journal?

Rhee: Throughout my career, ASN and our kidney community have had a major positive impact in shaping my career in academic nephrology and motivating my path in clinical research. As a trainee, I “grew up” studying and consuming both CJASN and the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN) and their rich research and clinical content, which served as a critical source of my curriculum as I developed into a physician-scientist and clinical nephrologist.

Over the years, I have served in various leadership positions in the administrative, clinical, and research arenas. The roles that I most value are caring for patients and their care partners, conducting and disseminating clinical research that can directly improve the health and well-being of our patients, and mentoring trainees and early-career investigators who aspire to pursue careers in clinical medicine or research.

The current and previous CJASN editors-in-chief and editorial teams have been inspirational role models in promoting high-quality, clinically relevant research and in their dedication to elevating the next generation of clinicians and scientists. Given that CJASN is one of the most widely read journals among all clinicians, researchers, trainees, and patients in nephrology, I was eager to pursue the editor-in-chief role in which I could potentially make a positive, meaningful, and enduring impact on our community.

KN: What are some of CJASN's strengths?

Rhee: There are numerous strengths, including its very broad reach and inclusivity across our kidney community. One of the most popular areas of content is the “Patient Voice” articles, which were inaugurated by the most recent CJASN editorial team to ensure that patients’ voices are being heard and prioritized. Another major strength is CJASN's dissemination of rigorous, high-quality science. The previous editorial teams have established high standards for publishing research that is internally and externally valid and that can directly inform clinical decision-making or catalyze patient-centered research. CJASN also has innovatively expanded its modes of communication via exciting visual abstracts, podcasts, and social media channels to connect with a wider audience.

KN: What are some of your designs for the journal?

Rhee: There are seven major goals that our new CJASN editorial team and I will be pursuing over this next term:

  1. We will continue to expand the global reach of the journal. I am honored to work alongside a diverse, world-class team of editors and kidney advocates who represent a large geographic catchment area. It is a privilege to partner with these renowned experts and leaders as we engage with our international readership in the pursuit of the highest-quality clinical medicine and science and to influence positive change in our field.

  2. We want to ensure that the voices from the most vulnerable populations in the kidney community are being heard, both within and outside of the United States.

  3. We aim to augment cross-disciplinary content, given that we are increasingly collaborating with non-nephrology colleagues in primary care, endocrinology, cardiology, and other specialties in both the clinical and research spheres using a team-based and team-science approach, respectively.

  4. Having greatly benefited from CJASN's didactic material and ASN's educational programs through the years, I am passionate about expanding trainee-focused topics and material.

  5. We aim to expand our interdisciplinary content that encompasses the interests of the diverse workforce of advanced practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, social workers, and technicians who are also on the front lines serving kidney patients.

  6. We plan to develop and highlight more research with an upstream focus on kidney health that emphasizes the primary and secondary prevention of kidney diseases using lifestyle medicine and holistic approaches.

  7. Finally, we will work in close collaboration with the other ASN journal portfolio editors-in-chief—Rajnish Mehrotra, MD, MS, FASN, of JASN and senior editor-in-chief of the ASN journal portfolio and Michael Allon, MD, of Kidney360—and their editorial teams to strategically align the content, format, and best practices across the three journals.

KN: How do you plan to work with the other ASN journals?

Rhee: I am truly grateful to Dr. Mehrotra, Dr. Allon, the most recent CJASN editorial team, the ASN journal portfolio team, and ASN staff, who have strongly supported me and our new editorial team in making a smooth transition to the journal. Since the announcement of my position, we have had multiple meetings to brainstorm and discuss how we can synchronize the three ASN journals to enhance the authors’ and readership's experiences and to inspire the best research that will have a positive and long-lasting influence on our field.

I am deeply honored and excited to serve our kidney community to the best of my abilities as the CJASN editor-in-chief. While there is a vast amount of work that lies ahead, I am truly excited for what the future holds for the journal, the ASN journal portfolio, and our field! I am ready to roll up my sleeves, dive in, and work hard to serve our kidney community.