Winning advice from a winning editor

On World Kidney Day, we catch up with BMC Nephrology Section Editor Dr Bernard Jaar, to discuss what winning the ‘Section Editor of the Year’ award meant to him, and what his best advice is for helping improve kidney health.

Research Awards

The BioMed Central Research Awards not only recognize the best freely available open access research published within our journals, but also acknowledges our best editors. The ‘Section Editor of the Year’ award recognizes the significant contribution made to one of our journals by a BMC-Series Section Editor. This year, BMC Nephrology was delighted to learn that Section Editor Dr Bernard Jaar took this prestigious prize home.

First Impressions of a Section Editor

2015The first time I ever spoke to Bernard was back in 2012, when I asked him if he would consider becoming the new Section Editor for the Epidemiology section in BMC Nephrology.

For me, Bernard was an obvious choice to head this section. His primary academic appointment is in the Division of Nephrology, at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, USA, and he is trained in internal medicine and nephrology, but also in epidemiology and clinical research. His list of extra-curricular activities and academic record are vast and impressive, so much so, that I could dedicate a blog solely to his achievements.

You must then forgive me for not feeling overly confident when I dialed his phone number to ask if he could dedicate his already valuable time to serve as a Section Editor for BMC Nephrology. The conversation could not have gone better, and he agreed to join our editorial board.

Bernard is someone that you aspire to be. He is a friendly, meticulous, and enthusiastic person. This not only makes him a great doctor and researcher, but also a great editor. I therefore had no reservations about nominating him for the Section Editor of the Year award. He has helped and encouraged members of our board to become excellent editors, and he takes great pride in providing our authors with an efficient peer-review service.

It was with great honor that I got to present Bernard Jaar with the Section Editor of the Year award during Kidney Week, in November 2014. This award is a small token of our huge appreciation to Bernard, but also represents the hard work from all of our BMC Nephrology editors, ensuring the journal’s success. Congratulations Bernard! – Dr Hayley Henderson, Senior Executive Editor BMC Nephrology

We spoke to Bernard abut his thoughts on winning this award, and what his best advice is to improving kidney health around the world.

Dr Bernard Jaar receiving the 'Section Editor of the Year' award from Dr Hayley Henderson
Dr Bernard Jaar receiving the ‘Section Editor of the Year’ award from Dr Hayley Henderson

Congratulations on winning the Section Editor of the Year award – what does this mean to you?

Winning the Section Editor of the Year award represents such a tremendous honor!

I’m humbled by it. It was completely unexpected. However, most importantly, I do believe it represents a very nice recognition of the hard work that my Associate Editors and I have invested over the past couple of years since we started working with BMC Nephrology.

What made you decide to join the BMC Nephrology editorial team?

This was not a difficult decision. My colleagues and I had previously published with BMC Nephrology and other journals in the BMC-Series. I personally liked the whole open access process. I thought it was novel, transparent and brought more integrity to the peer review system. I saw this as a very nice and unique opportunity to help contribute to the scientific dissemination of new medical knowledge.

What do you enjoy most about being a Section Editor?

I get a great sense of satisfaction when working with authors to improve the quality of their manuscripts so that it can be accepted for publication. This is true, particularly when working with authors from low to middle income countries where research is usually not a priority, but still desperately needed.

What do you believe makes a good Section Editor?

This is a tough question. As a Section Editor, I feel a significant sense of responsibility for each manuscript that is handled within my section.

I feel a significant sense of responsibility for each manuscript

I want to make sure that the Associate Editor and myself are fair to the authors and, importantly, that the editorial board provides timely, honest and constructive feedback during the peer review process.

As a researcher myself, I understand that it takes a lot of dedication and perseverance to complete a research project, so before rejecting a manuscript I want to make sure that there is no other alternative to improve on the quality of the manuscript.

What has been the most enjoyable experience during your time with BMC Nephrology?

Overall, I think my most enjoyable experience with BMC Nephrology has been to observe the growth of the journal over the past couple of years; not only in volume and number of manuscript submissions from all regions of the world, but also, there has been a significant improvement in the quality of the manuscripts submitted. I believe that BMC Nephrology is slowly carving its place among the top nephrology journals worldwide.

On World Kidney Day, what is the best advice you give to your patients to having healthy kidneys?

I believe that awareness of kidney disease is important in the general population

Kidney disease is becoming more prevalent worldwide. So, I believe that awareness of kidney disease is important in the general population.

For people at risk of kidney disease, particularly those with high blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of kidney disease, it is important to be screened for kidney disease with a blood test for serum creatinine and a urine test for protein.

For those already with chronic kidney disease, management of risk factors is very important but also the use of appropriate medications such as ACE Inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers are essential when indicated. Good blood pressure control, diabetes control, weight loss and avoidance of nephrotoxic medications (such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can significantly help in slowing progression of their chronic kidney disease.

So there you have it – winning advice from a winning Section Editor. Happy World Kidney Day!

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