From the Society

Pediatric hospitalist and researcher: Dr. Samir Shah

Stoking collaboration between adult and pediatric clinicians


Samir S. Shah, MD, MSCE, director of the division of hospital medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, believes that pediatric and adult hospitalists have much to learn from each other. And he aims to promote that mutual education in his new role as editor in chief of the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Dr. Samir S. Shah, director, division of hospital medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Dr. Samir S. Shah

Dr. Shah is the first pediatric hospitalist to hold this position for JHM, the official journal of the Society of Hospital Medicine. He says his new position, which became effective Jan. 1, is primed for fostering interaction between pediatric and adult hospitalists. “Pediatric hospital medicine is such a vibrant community of its own. There are many opportunities for partnership and collaboration between adult and pediatric hospitalists,” he said.

The field of pediatric hospital medicine has started down the path toward becoming recognized as a board-certified subspecialty.1 “That will place a greater emphasis on our role in fellowship training, which is important to ensure that pediatric hospitalists have a clearly defined skill set,” Dr. Shah said. “So much of what we learn in medical school is oriented to the medical care of adults. If you go into pediatrics, you’ve already had a fair amount of grounding in the healthy physiology and common diseases of adults. Pediatric hospital medicine fellowships offer an opportunity to refine clinical skill sets, as well as develop new skills in domains such as research and leadership.”

An emphasis on diversity

Although he has praised the innovative work of his predecessors, Mark Williams, MD, MHM, and Andrew Auerbach, MD, MPH, MHM, in shepherding the journal to its current strong position, Dr. Shah brings ideas for new features and directions.

“We as a field really benefit from a diversity of skill sets and perspectives. I’m excited to create processes to ensure equity and diversity in everything we do, starting with adding more women and more pediatric hospitalists to the journal’s leadership team, as well as purposefully developing a diverse leadership pipeline for the journal and for the field,” he said.

“We are intentionally reaching out to pediatricians to emphasize the extent to which JHM is invested in their field. For example, we have increased by seven the number of pediatricians as part of the JHM leadership team.” But pediatric hospitalists have always seen JHM as a home for their work, and Dr. Shah himself has published a couple dozen research papers in the journal. “It has always felt to me like a welcoming place,” he said.

“The great thing for me is that I’m not doing this alone. We have a marvelous crew of senior deputy editors, deputy editors, associate editors, and advisors. The opportunity I have is to leverage the phenomenal expertise and enthusiasm of this exceptional team.”

The journal under Dr. Auerbach’s lead created an editorial fellowship program offering opportunities for 1-year mentored exposure to the publication of academic scholarship and to different aspects of how a medical journal works. “We’re excited to continue investing in this program and included an editorial about it and an application form in the January 2019 issue of the Journal,” Dr. Shah said. He encourages editorial fellowship applications from physicians who historically have been underrepresented in academic medicine leadership.

“We’re also creating a column on leadership and professional development so that leaders in different fields can share their perspective and wisdom with our readers. We’ll be presenting a new, shorter review format; distilling clinical practice guidelines; and working on redesigning the journal’s web presence. We believe that our readers interact with the journal differently than they did five years ago, and increasingly are leveraging social media,” he said.

“I’m eager to broaden the scope of the journal. In the past, we focused on quality, value in health care and transitions of care in and out of the hospital, which are important topics. But I’m also excited about the adoption of new technologies, how to evaluate them and incorporate them into medical practice – things like Apple Watch for measuring heart rhythm,” Dr. Shah.

He wants to explore other technology-related topics like alarm fatigue and the use of monitors. Another big subject is the management of health of populations under new, emerging, risk-based payment models, with their pressures on health systems to take greater responsibility for risk. JHM is a medical journal and an official society journal, Dr. Shah said. “But our readership and submitters are not limited to hospitalists. As editor in chief, I’m here to make sure the journal is relevant to our members and to our other constituencies.”

Dr. Shah joined JHM’s editorial leadership team in 2009, then he became its deputy editor in 2012 and its senior deputy editor in 2015. A founding associate editor of the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, he has also served on the editorial board of JAMA Pediatrics. He is editor or coeditor of 12 books in the fields of pediatrics and infectious diseases, including coauthoring “The Philadelphia Guide: Inpatient Pediatrics for McGraw-Hill Education” while still a fellow in academic general pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and, more recently, “Pediatric Infectious Diseases: Essentials for Practice,” a textbook for the pediatric generalist.


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