Heart Views in its 22nd year
Twenty-two years is not a long history for a journal, but for our 42-year-old cardiology department in Qatar, it was a long time. It is very hard to separate the history of this journal from the history of our cardiology department in Qatar. Worse than that, it is hard to separate my personal career from the history of the department. Until now that history is kept only in my memory. I keep all the related documents and images in my personal files waiting for the next year to start writing it. Over the last decade that "next year" kept flying away. I hope to catch it in the near future.
When I first establish the cardiology service in Qatar in August 1978, in the old Romailah Hospital, there were no equipment's or staff to help me. The only thing I had to work with was an old stethoscope I brought with me from Portland, Oregon, USA where I had my training. There were no medical journals, medical books or medical library in Qatar; and obviously there was no internet in the country yet. I had to wait several weeks for the arrival of my medical journals by post. The idea of establishing a local medical journal had never crossed my mind then.
In February 1982 we moved to a new modern Hamad General Hospital (HGH) with a medical library which contained most major textbooks and periodicals. In my capacity as CEO of HGH I managed to open the medical library one year earlier than the opening of the hospital in a temporary building. The cardiology department grew with more staff and facilities. Over the following decade, medical progress locally and internationally was moving fast.
In June 1998 Dr Rachel, our noninvasive laboratory director, made a sample issue of a local cardiology journal and called it “Heart Views” (HV). She distributed the sample in our regular Tuesday meeting of the cardiology and cardiovascular surgery department staff in HGH, as a proposal for a departmental journal. The staff unanimously approved it as the Cardiovascular Journal of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
On the creation of Gulf Heart Association (GHA) on January 2002 in Doha, Qatar, the pioneer cardiologists in the Gulf, the co-founders of the society, elected me to be the first president of the society and accepted my recommendation to make HV as the official journal of the GHA. Therefore, since 2002 until the present, the journal had dual sponsorship: HMC and GHA.
When the 20th anniversary of HV came on June 2018, I let it go, without an anniversary editorial comment. As the senior editor of the journal and the founder of both cardiology in Qatar and the GHA, I was not happy with the status of our journal. It was not fulfilling the goal we hoped for as a Gulf cardiology journal. It had articles from several countries but rarely had articles from its sponsors, GHA and HMC. Our colleagues in both society and the institution are very active in publishing their research in other journals. I raised the issue with my colleagues in the GHA and HMC. Finally, on 3/9/2019 I brought my concerns about HV to the same body of colleagues that had blessed its creation 22 years earlier; (our regular Tuesday conference is now held in the new Heart Hospital); I told the audience we had two choices: either improve or retire the HV journal. All voted for the first choice. Many members of the staff volunteered to edit and publish their articles in the journal.
In this issue, the HMC cardiologists fulfilled their promise. No doubt this will encourage the rest of our GHA colleagues in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to increase their participation also.
We are planning to expand the number of pages starting with this first issue for 2020. New subject titles are added like CARDIOVASCULAR NEWS and VIEWPOINT.
Unlike my smart younger GHA cardiology and cardiovascular colleagues whose aim is to make this journal purely cardiology research-oriented journal, I am planning to convince them to share it with our Gulf Internal Medicine colleagues, by providing 20% general medical articles. We should welcome their involvement and participation with us. We were trained as internists before we became cardiologists. I miss my energetic old days of internal medicine residency in Portland, Oregon. In fact, what I am probably missing are the old days when I was young. This feeling of longing to the youth days and sorrow reminded me of a poem expressing such a feeling by an old blind poet in the 8th century in Bagdad (Abo-Al-Atahia). I translate some verses of it for you as follows:
My tears are falling like the rain,
Because my youth had gone.
I wish it comes back again,
To see what old age had done.
- Hajar A. Albinali, MD Jan. 2020