It is my great pleasure to welcome you to this July 2011 issue of Arthritis Care & Research (AC&R), my first as Editor. I start my tenure with great enthusiasm and would like to outline several exciting plans for the journal over the next 5 years. First, I want to take this opportunity to extend my deepest thanks to the outgoing Co-Editors, Drs. Patricia Katz and Edward Yelin, for their years of dedicated service to AC&R. The energy that they have injected into the journal has led to improved communications and wonderful gains for the journal and its readership. 1

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Illustration 1. Marian T. Hannan, DSc, MPH.

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AC&R has grown during the Katz-Yelin editorship, receiving more than 1,000 submissions each year, adding sections devoted to improving research (e.g., emerging analytic methodology articles describing state-of-the-art methods), and also expanding clinical knowledge (e.g., the Clinicopathologic Conferences, or CPC section, which emphasizes new ideas in medical science that shed light on the approach to case diagnosis, disease management, or an emerging aspect of pathophysiology).

Although my editorship is merely days old, I have read AC&R since the journal's inception in 1988. As a reviewer, author, and past Associate Editor, I take great pride in the high-quality, peer-reviewed papers that have been published in AC&R. I know as we move forward in the 21st century, great challenges and opportunities await the journal.

A key feature to the continuing success and evolution of AC&R is the selection of a team of talented and dedicated Associate Editors. I greatly look forward to working with Hermine Brunner, MD, MBA, Karen H. Costenbader, MD, MPH, Leslie J. Crofford, MD, Robert F. DeVellis, PhD, Agustín Escalante, MD, Monique A. M. Gignac, PhD, Sunny Kim, PhD, Michael LaValley, PhD, Carol A. Oatis, PhD, PT, and Michael M. Ward, MD, MPH, along with Assistant Editor Belinda Wong, MPH, and Managing Editor, Nancy Parker. Our Associate Editors reflect the diverse membership of the American College of Rheumatology and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (a division of the College) in terms of clinical versus academic background, content areas, race/ethnicity, and geography. Three of the Associate Editors were retained from the past editorial team to provide continuity and continued success of vetting the highest-quality articles for AC&R, and several were chosen from the previous Editorial Board due to outstanding performance as reviewers in their areas of expertise, and knowledge of the needs of the readership of AC&R.

AC&R provides a venue for the best original articles in rheumatologic care and clinical research across multiple health disciplines, as well as efforts encouraging collaboration and integration relevant to the care of rheumatic disorders focusing upon economic, educational, and social issues. My overarching vision for AC&R is that it becomes the intellectual home to those keenly interested in these issues. We are at a critical juncture to institute important changes and 21st century improvements for AC&R. My goal is to build extensively upon our strong foundation and use the web to create a community of investigators and clinicians who see AC&R as a place to find and exchange information, and participate in lively debates about timely topics. AC&R is an outstanding journal and will grow even stronger as it anticipates and adapts successfully to future changes in science and publishing. As Editor, my top priority is to make AC&R the first choice for clinical researchers and scientists to submit cutting-edge research.

Several features for AC&R are important to highlight: First, we have a new section in each original article that contains 2–4 bulleted points that list the significance of the article and its innovations. These bullet points are in line with the new emphasis on significance and innovations by the National Institutes of Health in grant applications, and will also draw attention to an article's translational link to public health or clinical implications.

Second, we will continue the themed issues of AC&R that have been received with great acclaim by readers. These themed issues contain reserved pages for both original research articles and review articles related to the highlighted theme. Past themes have included Cardiovascular Aspects of Rheumatic Disease, Disparities in the Rheumatic Diseases, and Quality of Care in Rheumatic Diseases. Upcoming will be a themed issue on Muscle and Bone in the Rheumatic Diseases. Future themed issues will be announced via e-mail blasts and announcements in the journal.

Third, we will continue to encourage submissions on the long-term outcomes from clinical trials and reviews. Review articles provide a rich environment for the dissemination of the latest views on clinical issues. In my experience, the best scientists will often write stimulating and exciting reviews as they almost universally understand that a good review will help shape the field.

Fourth, the current conflict of interest policies of AC&R are rigorous, appropriate, and in agreement with those of major biomedical journals. The journal policy of AC&R has recently changed to include the disclosure process at the manuscript revision stage, making it easier to detect potential or perceived conflicts of interest at an earlier stage. In conjunction with the Committee on Journal Publications and the American College of Rheumatology, the conflict of interest policies and procedures process will continue to improve and become more transparent for our readership.

Finally, it is important to underscore the essential mission of AC&R to address the needs of practicing rheumatologists and health professionals. Therefore, our focus is not exclusively research based but also includes a vital clinical and educational focus for practitioners, an important American College of Rheumatology and Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals member benefit provided by AC&R. The success of AC&R relies upon multidisciplinary scientists, clinicians, and educators to submit the results of their best rheumatologic work to our journal.

As Editor of AC&R, I take my responsibility seriously to move our field forward, to aid in communicating the major improvements experienced by our patients, to publish the cutting-edge efforts by the multidisciplinary rheumatic disease clinical researchers, and to provide important education on rheumatology issues to our readers. AC&R will be a key conduit in the 21st century debates and outcomes regarding rheumatology as our successes in care and research grow and as our efforts evolve to further understand the complexities of the rheumatic diseases.