Editors as Gatekeepers: One Medical Education Journal's Efforts to Resist Racism in Scholarly Publishing


Tasha R. Wyatt, T.R. Wyatt is associate director, Center for Health Professions Education, and associate professor, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0071-5298.
Justin L. Bullock, J.L. Bullock is fellow, Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4240-9798.
Anabelle Andon, A. Andon is medical education and learning specialist, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4917-498X.
Erica J. Odukoya, E.J. Odukoya is resident, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.
Carlos G. Torres, C.G. Torres is instructor in pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5845-0205.
Gareth Gingell, G. Gingell is assistant professor of medical education, Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3755-5590.
Heeyoung Han, H. Han is associate professor of medical education, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, Illinois; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7286-2473.
Zareen Zaidi, Z. Zaidi is professor of medicine, George Washington University, Washington, DC; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4328-5766.
Elza Mylona, E. Mylona is vice provost for faculty affairs and professor of internal medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia.
Dario Torre, D. Torre is director of assessment and professor of medicine, University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Orlando, Florida; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4924-4888.
Anna T. Cianciolo, A.T. Cianciolo is professor of medical education, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, Illinois; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5948-9304.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges




PURPOSE: Journals have begun to expand the racial diversity of editors as a first step to countering institutional racism. Given the power editors hold as gatekeepers, a diverse team helps ensure that minoritized scholars have equal opportunity to contribute. In 2021, Teaching and Learning in Medicine (TLM) created an editorial internship for racially minoritized individuals. This study examines the first 6 months of this program to better understand its creation and initial successes. METHOD: The authors employed critical collaborative autoethnography, a qualitative methodology, focusing on the underlying assumptions around power and hierarchy that are implicit in the design and implementation of the TLM internship. Participants included 13 TLM editorial board members (10 internship selection committee members, 3 mentors, 2 independent researchers), 3 external selection committee members, and 3 interns, with some holding multiple roles. Ten participants served as authors of this report. Data included archival emails, planning documents, and focus groups. The initial analysis explored what happened and how and was followed by a thematic analysis in which participants reflected on their responsibility for implementing an antiracist program. RESULTS: While the program developed interns' editorial skills, which they greatly valued, and diversified the TLM editorial board, it did not achieve the goal of fostering antiracism. Mentors focused on conducting joint peer reviews with interns, assuming that racial experiences can and should be separate from the editorial process, thus working within, rather than trying to change, the existing racist system. CONCLUSIONS: Given these findings, greater structural change is needed to disrupt the existing racist system. These experiences underscore the importance of recognizing the harmful impact a race-neutral lens can have on antiracist efforts. Moving forward, TLM will implement lessons learned ahead of offering the internship again with the goal of creating the transformative change intended with the creation of the program.