A Master Clinician
Throughout the nearly half-century of JCO's history, our interviews of leading orthodontists from around the world have been among our most popular articles. Such orthodontic luminaries as Charles Tweed, Raymond Begg, Charles Burstone, Thomas Creekmore, Lysle Johnston, Fred Schudy, and countless others have been interviewed over the years. In this issue of JCO, Associate Editor Peter Sinclair introduces a new department based on that tradition: the Master Clinician series.
Our new feature will explore the treatment practices, theories, and philosophies of great clinicians who have helped define the current state of the art in orthodontic practice, through the vehicle of one-on-one interviews conducted by Dr. Sinclair. Our intent is to alternate between American clinicians and orthodontists from other countries around the world.
Of course, the selection of the first subject posed a difficult decision. Since all of us on the editorial board of JCO have our "heroes"--I can say in all honesty that several of my personal heroes are on our editorial board--a number of names were immediately proposed. In the end, Dr. Sinclair prevailed by nominating a man who has served as a personal mentor to him and who is respected by everyone on our board and, indeed, by the entire profession. The luminary we selected has a long history with JCO, as both an author and a Contributing Editor: Dr. R.G. "Wick" Alexander.
Dr. Alexander exemplifies everything good about our specialty. He has a strong sense of responsibility to his patients, to his profession, and to his community. Wick combines a myriad of talents. His treatment philosophy, the Alexander Discipline, has a worldwide following. As Dr. Sinclair points out, he has taught hundreds of students who are now successful orthodontists, practicing all over the globe. In addition to his articles published in JCO and elsewhere, Wick has authored two essential textbooks. He is also a gifted researcher, focusing on orthodontic treatment and treatment outcomes. His "Room of Truth" has served as the source of data for many graduate orthodontic theses and more than a few papers that are now regarded as classics in the orthodontic literature.
In the inaugural issue of what was then called the Journal of Practical Orthodontics, JCO's founding Editor, Dr. Eugene Gottlieb, defined the role and mission of the journal as follows: "JPO is a journal of orthodontic practice. It was conceived as a meeting place for orthodontists to share their knowledge and experience. While it will not neglect areas of basic information and philosophy of treatment, JPO will concentrate on the treatment of the orthodontic patient and the administration of the orthodontic office. . .We can all learn from each other. Let JPO be a window on the orthodontic world today."
Everything written in that initial Editor's Corner 45 years ago remains true today. There is no doubt that "we can all learn from each other", and who better to learn from than the acknowledged masters who have defined clinical orthodontic practice? Although I have tremendous respect for our orthodontic researchers, professors, and academicians, the best teachers are the master clinicians--the practitioners who lead the way and set the standard for what day-to-day orthodontics can and should be.
Within this frame of reference, it is entirely fitting that Dr. Alexander should be our first Master Clinician. Anyone who has ever heard one of his presentations, taken one of his courses, read one of his books, or--best of all--visited the Room of Truth will understand my perspective. I learn something new from every interaction I have with Dr. Alexander, and Dr. Sinclair's interview is no exception. I feel blessed to count them both of them as my colleagues and friends. In the months ahead, we will spotlight other Master Clinicians from around the world. Given Dr. Sinclair's penchant for excellence, I expect to learn a great deal from every one of them.