Editorial: Goodbye, Cathy?and thank you

November 1, 2000

Memorial tribute to Catherine Caldwell Brown, editor.

 

EDITORIAL

Goodbye, Cathy—and thank you

Catherine Caldwell Brown died on October 1 of metastatic cancer. She was 61. Cathy had been editor of Contemporary Pediatrics since 1993. She found out about her diagnosis in early spring but continued work on the magazine until summer, when her condition made that impossible. She told only her closest colleagues about her illness.

Most readers of Contemporary Pediatrics probably didn't know Cathy's name or her crucial role in recruiting authors, tailoring their articles for our audience of mostly general pediatricians, and ensuring that every piece was as complete and accurate as possible. But if readers didn't know about Cathy, our authors certainly did. She earned their gratitude by helping them make good articles excellent. Cathy asked questions; rearranged paragraphs; rewrote captions; and suggested tables, figures, and boxes so that every article delivered clear, well-organized prose, packed with information. She had no medical training, but Cathy learned a great deal about pediatrics and developed a sensitivity for the interests and priorities of pediatricians that made her an awesome facilitator for medical educators.

Cathy led a very talented and diligent editorial staff to significant professional recognition. During her tenure as editor, Contemporary Pediatrics was awarded many prizes. The most prestigious were two 2000 Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Awards for editorial achievement and a 1999 editorial excellence award (gold medal) from Folio magazine.

It's no secret that Contemporary Pediatrics depends heavily on revenue from advertisers for its operation. Cathy had a well-developed sensitivity to the possibility that an article could be (or even appear to be) influenced by commercial interests that might be good for income but suggest a bias. She consistently insisted on adhering to an editorial policy that maintained independence from the advertising sales efforts of the magazine.

Although her skills were formidable, the staff of Contemporary Pediatrics, the Editorial Board, and many former colleagues have lost far more than Cathy's editorial abilities and leadership. We will also miss her friendship, charm, and humor. My own daily e-mail correspondence with Cathy often made me laugh out loud in the middle of a stressful day. This time of year our mutual interest in gardening would have led to electronic confessions of guilt about all the bulbs waiting to be planted.

Cathy's staff at Contemporary Pediatrics will continue to work to make the magazine an important resource for pediatricians and others who provide medical care for children. A new editor will be selected, and we hope you won't really notice the difference. But for those of us who knew and worked with Cathy, the difference is profound.

 

 

Julia A. McMillan, MD, Editor-in-chief of Contemporary Pediatrics, is Vice Chair, Pediatric Education, and Director, Residency Training, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore.

 

In memoriam

The staff and Editorial Board of

Contemporary Pediatrics

fondly remember

Catherine Caldwell Brown

December 30, 1938 - October 1, 2000

Editor, colleague, and friend

 

Julia McMillan. Editorial: Goodbye, Cathyùand thank you. Contemporary Pediatrics 2000;11:9.