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The ISHLT Links Newsletter: Its Mission and Vision 2020

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Vincent Valentine, MD
Univeristy of Texas Medical Branch
Galveston, TX, USA

The ISHLT Links Newsletter is a reflection of what the ISHLT represents and how we perform as a group. Because the Links is free for all the world to see for anyone with internet access, we are transparent and accountable for its content. Although there could be downsides, with proper decorum and appropriateness, the upsides surpass the downsides. The Links is an educational vehicle for not only for the ISHLT but for the world, especially for patients and families dealing with heart and lung problems that may need replacement or transplantation or have already been replaced or transplanted.

The Links provides each member an opportunity to contribute which allows our ISHLT community to come together in harmony and with synergy by sharing knowledge, stories, wisdom, opinions, ideas, activities and more. Along with the necessary technological advances for the science of what we do, the Links affords us the opportunity to infuse culture, history, music, art and literature with the ultimate goal of keeping us grounded in the humanities. Not only do we figure out who, what, when, why and how our patients develop a heart or lung condition that demands our attention and efforts, we also tend to how our patients and families must cope with such heart and lung conditions while managed with different immunosuppressive agents, other long-term medications, regimented schedules and various mechanical devices. This is the Art and Science of it all.

The Ultimate Mission of the ISHLT Links Newsletter is to bring and maintain the humanities of our endeavors for the dignity of our patients and their donors through communication. We will be better health care providers and better communicators not just for our patients and their donors but for everyone who has access to the Links. We must keep challenging ourselves to strive for what's best for our patients as we continue to do what's most helpful, useful and least harmful. All of the failures and accomplishments can be and should be shared for the world to see what we are all about. We're not just specialized professionals - we are human. We shall act accordingly, humanely and professionally.

Along with its Mission, the Vision of the ISHLT Links Newsletter began with Volume 3 of the June and July Issues back in 2011. I had you Look into my Eyes in the June Issue 2011 over concern about which style will emerge as your Chief Editor of the Links. The framework of the ISHLT Links was created and shared in the Structure-Function Relationship article from the July Issue 2011. Five years later, we have structure to our monthly ISHLT Links newsletter.

  1. There is an Editorial Staff comprises yours truly, the Managing Editor, Senior Associate Editors, Associate Editors and an International Correspondents Board whose duties are:
    1. to assist in assuring the content and its appropriateness.
    2. to be active, and to hold their position, each editorial staff member is expected to contribute directly or indirectly at least two summary articles or missives each year - by either:
      1. assisting in soliciting writers for the Links (patients and their families are welcomed)
      2. generating ideas or suggestions for the Links
      3. criticizing or creating rebuttals against any concepts brought up in meetings or other publications including the Links.
  2. We are in our eighth volume and provide 12 issues per volume.
  3. Each successive Volume begins in May after our Annual Meeting - I suspect most members are not aware of this. Volume 9 will begin in May 2017.
  4. There are rotating assignments where Councils are paired and responsible for the content on a rotating basis and directed by the Communication Liaisons of their respective Councils. The idea is to generate a cluster of current and topical summaries across these pairings. However, anyone can submit anything, anytime as long as the article can be "linked" to the ISHLT and is appropriate for the world.
  5. Within each Volume, there are 100 day, halftime and final reports from the President and Program Chair. Of course, the President and Program Chair are welcomed to sprinkle in other insightful "briefs" or "shorts" throughout the course of their tenure.
  6. Quotes, words and sprinklings of other teachable points are featured
  7. There is considerable "elasticity" or free form to allow change over time.
  8. The Links is a vehicle for us to show the transparency and accountability of our society to each other and the rest of the world.

Today, we are refining and restructuring ourselves. We are in the midst of restructuring the ISHLT Links Newsletter. Much of the basic format will remain in place. But for Vision 2020 we want more of our members actively involved and contributing to the ISHLT and the Links Newsletter.

Although, the articles in the Links Newsletter are not formally citable by PubMed or other rigorous science groups, they are citable by anyone who searches the World Wide Web about heart, lung, transplant or anything pertaining to the ISHLT. Anyone who writes will create a link to the Internet. Anyone who writes will become a better and more confident writer and thinker. Each article is edited with some feedback to the writer by several editors. - Practice until you can't get it wrong. A better and more confident writer and thinker becomes a better reader. Should I dare go on to state a better reader becomes a better writer. In the ISHLT we want active members. Those who have written an article or two have testimonials that they are "active members." These articles can be added to resumes or CVs. With the expectations of the Links to link up with the literary arts, we are persuading and influencing creativity from the writers. As we put together our collective works we draw ourselves closer together which allows for all of us access for more external letters of references. Our professional career will be advanced.

All of this will enhance communication amongst ourselves and clarity of what we represent. We can show the world how such an International and Diverse Society can well work together effectively from across the globe. We will be proud to members of such a great society, the ISHLT. ■

Disclosure Statement: The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

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