The last time this magazine was redesigned, more than a decade ago, the editor felt justified trepidation. The late Francis Moore ’39, the intimidating mentor to generations of Harvard surgical residents and staunch Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin devotee, had admonished her not to change anything. The Bulletin was sacrosanct, he said, with sonorous emphasis, “like Shakespeare and the Bible.”
The editor survived the redesign—Moore ended up applauding the changes, with a caution not to let the designer go wild—and remains with the magazine. The magazine itself, though, now bears a fresh look, a new title, and an expanded editorial focus. In making changes, we’ve been mindful that some readers have been receiving the publication for seven decades. That’s tradition, and tampering with tradition can be tricky. But at Harvard Medical School, we pride ourselves on building on foundations to enhance the future, not stand in its way.
And so, in this spirit, we give you Harvard Medicine. With one leg up on Aristotelian tradition, this first issue in the new format looks not just at the five senses, but beyond them. In these pages you’ll find a surgeon’s exploration of the sixth sense, an accounting of additional senses, and meditations on mingled senses: the hearing of sight, the feeling of sound, the synesthetic links between luminosity and speech.
Through its explorations of medicine and science at HMS, Harvard Medicine aims to capture both their meaning and their unfolding drama. Rest assured: The devotion to doctors’ voices and the literary aspirations you have come to expect in the magazine will remain. But, after surveying readers, we’re expanding our content. With this new iteration we plan to explore more deeply than before the work of the HMS community and its power to make contributions to human health.
Ultimately, the continuing success of this magazine will depend on your feedback. Please join our Readers’ Panel—visit harvardmedicine.hms.harvard.edu/feedback.php—and regularly share your comments and ideas. You may also want to sample online-exclusive content on the magazine’s website. Above all, we invite you to savor the insights and innovations that Harvard’s doctors and scientists offer in these pages.
Photo by Graham Gordon Ramsay