Uniting Medicine with Culture

We first published Hektoen International in November 2008 as a free online journal with the motto of Uniting Medicine with Culture. Named in honour of Doctor Ludvig Hektoen, a distinguished professor of pathology at Cook County Hospital and the University of Chicago, it was to feature articles on art, education, ethics, literature, health care, history, and humanities as related to medicine. At the outset it was conceived as a quarterly journal with a limited circulation, but over time its readership grew so that now it is read in almost every country of the world. We began the journal with a few articles displaying an image followed by a short text. Later we added new sections and experimented with different lay-outs. We now take advantage of the new developments in communication - email and social media. We can publish an article within a few days. We can correct errors after publication and even add new material later if we so wish. Literature is art, and we think of our journal as a museum, its articles as precious paintings. We publish them first in Hektorama, our collection. We then display or feature them periodically in Frontispiece (the traditional front page), in our regular emails, or in social media. They can be exhibited again and again, like a Correggio or Titian, not archived and forgotten. In an era of rapid change and innovation what was new yesterday is consistently rendered obsolete by new technology, just as the printing press of Guttenberg replaced the illuminated manuscripts of the monks and scribes. We experiment in Hektoen International, make changes, and if we make mistakes try to correct them later. But we constantly strive to balance modern innovations with the aim of publishing a serious journal of medical humanities, thus Uniting Medicine with Culture.

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