Monday, April 1, 2019

Introducing Dr. Mike Arnold, the first Jay Siwek Medical Editing Fellow

- Jennifer Middleton, MD, MPH

It's my pleasure to introduce the first Jay Siwek Medical Editing Fellow at AFP, Dr. Mike Arnold, whose fellowship year began on March 1. Here are some highlights from a recent interview I had the privilege to conduct with Dr. Arnold:

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I’m a bit of a late-comer to medicine. The Navy paid for my college in exchange for weekly marching and four years of service after graduation. They sent me to submarines, and I stayed for eight years. My medical training was through Uniformed Services University (USU), the only medical school where students are paid a salary to attend. In my opinion, NYU’s tuition-free plan is only starting to catch up to that hidden gem. In the thirteen years since graduation, I’ve been stationed as far away as Naples, Italy and the Pacific island of Guam. I recently served as residency faculty at the Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida where I was trained. I’ve been able to practice in tents, ships and run-down gymnasiums. The Navy returned me to USU as faculty last year, where I am blown away by the intelligence and enthusiasm of our medical students.

What got you interested in medical editing and writing?

The journals. Military family physicians have a tradition of packing a large stack of journals when going on deployment. We also love apps because they lighten our load. We often fall behind at our stateside hospitals, but during deployment we read voraciously. Being stationed overseas with limited specialists leads to the same. I believe that this is why you see so many journal authors with military rank. We have come to read, appreciate and depend on them, so we aspire to contribute.

What are you hoping to get out of the fellowship?

I have learned so much about writing articles from editors. I relish trying to assemble evidence to help colleagues in their daily work. Everything I have written has been vastly improved by peer reviewers and editors, the best of whom are able to say “I see what you were trying to do there, but this sentence is very confusing.” I want to get that skill: the ability to partner with authors to improve an article without taking over or losing the author’s voice. I also want to see what the secret formula is for selecting topics to keep thousands of colleagues up to date in the broadest medical specialty.

Is there anything else you'd like AFP readers to know about you?

Just that I try to be well rounded. I’m an intermittent scuba diver, skier, marathon runner, swimmer, biker and sailor. I am getting older and question how long before I have to take things off that list. I spent two years as a Ford engineer designing a V6 engine upgrade and still like to tinker. I’ve been married for twenty years and we have a nineteen year-old college sophomore who is passionately pursuing economics.

Michael J. Arnold, MD
Uniformed Services University

Dr. Arnold's most recent article, "Interventional Radiology: Indications and Best Practices," was published in the May 1 issue of AFP.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.