Looking Back and Forward

In celebrating the life and legacy of Peter Nowell in this issue of Penn Medicine, my first as editor, I have tried to test out a formula that you may see much more in this magazine in the future: taking a subject and looking both back and forward to show a wider view of that piece of the world. Remarkably, the life that Nowell lived, and the scientific advances he both foresaw and personally achieved, laid the groundwork for newer advancements on the horizons of science today.

This is a microcosm of Penn Medicine’s larger story. Steeped in a rich history including our nation’s first medical school—predating the nation itself—and its first hospital, Penn’s medical enterprise continues to foray into firsts that, in my opinion, make this one of the most mind-bendingly amazing places to glimpse the future of new advancements in science. Histories and futures are deeply intertwined.

I take the reins of Penn Medicine from an esteemed former colleague, John Shea, who retired in the fall of 2016 after closing the previous issue. John’s 18 years as editor saw the magazine and the institution of Penn Medicine through a profound period of transformation. I was lucky enough to be present for a few of those years during my prior tenure working at Penn Medicine. Then, specializing in digital communications, I led the launch of the Penn Medicine News Blog and found inspiration in the pages of this magazine for many of my early posts. I’m grateful to John for making this publication one I’m proud to inherit.

That brief look back ties in nicely to a new look forward: As you read this note online, you’ve clearly already found that Penn Medicine is newly available as a full, hyperlink-enhanced web version, an integral part of the Penn Medicine Communications department’s newly redesigned website. (A shortcut URL you can remember easily to get straight to the magazine is PennMedicine.org/magazine.) While you’re here, please subscribe to the email edition. Reading online, you’ll find some extras that take you behind the headlines and what is available for reading in the print edition of the magazine. I suggest starting with a visit to the Penn Medicine News Blog for a behind-the-scenes post about reporting from Guam by the author of this issue’s South Pacific medical mystery feature.

Rachel Ewing


Behind the Scenes

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