The Society for Endocrinology are looking for a clinician to join the editorial board of The Endocrinologist. Here, the former Editor, Miles Levy shares some of his highlights and insights into his term working on magazine. For more information about the vacant position please see the Society for Endocrinology website.
Dr Miles Levy interviewed by the Society for Endocrinology’s Fiona Docherty.
What inspired you to get involved with the Endocrinologist in the first place? I was asked by the Society for Endocrinology if I would be happy to do this – I was flattered to be asked and whilst I had not previously thought about doing it (nor read the magazine very much!), when invited I decided that I would embrace it and try and make a success of it. It was definitely a good decision to say yes as I have thoroughly enjoyed it with no regrets at all.
Any highlights from your time as Editor? Definitely my interviews with the greats of endocrinology. I am proud to have started these and am planning to keep these going, even after my time as Editor finishes. Talking personally to the people that have made the major contributions to our speciality has been both inspiring as well as the best CPD I have ever done – better than going to any conference!
Any low points? Not really –it’s all been positive. It takes up quite a lot of time and has reduced the amount of time I have for other scientific writing. Occasionally there are some interesting behind the scenes political things that have given interesting insights into how people and institutions respond to various issues. If anything, the few politically tricky times have been very helpful in knowing how senior people and large organisations work – so I put this down as good experience.
Greatest challenges? Coming up with over-arching themes that unite both clinical endocrinologists and scientists has been an interesting intellectual challenge. The beauty of the magazine is that one can go ‘off piste’ and think of things that are outside the normal world of endocrine journals. One of the pleasing things about my time as Editor is getting very senior people to contribute to writing articles – whilst it has been a challenge to persuade people to do this, senior people have been very generous with their time to write and I am very grateful for that – I think it has raised the bar for the magazine to push on from here.
Skills and experiences gained? Will they help in your career development? Definitely – I have improved my writing and journalistic skills. It has opened my mind to a more creative side of endocrinology and writing that I have enjoyed – it has made me wonder about doing more medical journalism after this – either later on in my career or in parallel. It has made me enthusiastic about selling endocrinology to people outside our own small world as I think they would be genuinely interested in the stories and discoveries. The interviews with the endocrine greats has allowed me to have a unique insight into what drives people – there are certain unifying characteristics to all these people. Talking to them has confirmed that you can’t keep a good man or woman down, and that old ideas and values are constant and still very relevant in 2015.
Has it affected your views/approach to science? Not really – it has just confirmed that of all the specialities, endocrinology has a wonderful array of colourful characters as well as a modern journey of scientific discovery. It has made me more concerned than ever about the current framework for basic scientists and clinical academics – I wonder if we will ever see the likes of the great contributors we had in the early 1970s, when there was certainly more clinical and academic freedom. I think we need to slightly return to the days where scientists and clinicians have more autonomy to follow their own ideas. Cross-pollination with the U.S was more common and let to a great collaboration, and we need to ensure the brightest endocrinologists are encouraged to travel in order to broaden their horizons and come back to the UK to push clinical and academic endocrinology further forward.