In January, IASLC announced the appointment of Emily Stone, MBBS, PhD, as the new editor-in-chief of JTO Clinical and Research Reports (JTO CRR), the official open-access journal of the IASLC. Dr. Stone is a consultant respiratory physician and head of thoracic medicine within the Department of Thoracic Medicine and Lung Transplantation at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia.
ILCN recently spoke with Dr. Stone, who discussed her background, her passion for respiratory medicine, and her vision for JTO CRR.
ILCN: What first drew you to respiratory medicine, and then lung cancer screening and tobacco control specifically?
Dr. Stone: I did a term of respiratory medicine when I was training, and I liked the work, and I really liked the people. I also liked the fact that it was very visual—looking at scans, looking at images—I loved that. I liked the crossover between critical care medicine and between infectious diseases, as well as the links to cardiology, so I found respiratory medicine to be a very broad, yet very central discipline.
Later, I started doing some multidisciplinary team research and one of the supervisors on that team was involved in lung cancer screening, so that’s how I first became interested in that. Tobacco control, on the other hand, was a bit of an accident. I had joined the IASLC and got interested in joining a committee, so I put my name forward. I ended up being put on the Tobacco Control Committee, which I’d never thought of, and that was one of the luckiest moments of my life.
I started attending the meetings and getting to know key people on the committee, and I quickly started to learn about tobacco control and smoking cessation and how important it is for all aspects of public health and preventative health. I started to learn about and became more and more interested in health policy, about how governments interact with health systems, and the role of clinicians. Things just took off from there—it’s a path that continues to unfold itself before me in many ways.
ILCN: You were an active contributor to JTO and JTO CRR before taking the role as JTO CRR’s editor-in-chief. One of your regular contributions has been to the JTO’s monthly Tobacco Control section, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month. How has that section evolved during the past 10 years, and why do you think it’s maintained its popularity with readers throughout the years?
Dr. Stone: It’s evolved kind of similarly to my whole career in tobacco control—organically, but with valuable contributions from key people along the way, many of whom I got to know through the IASLC Tobacco Control Committee and beyond. What I have found is that some of the very best people in medicine work in tobacco control. And I think they might be the best because it very much requires people to be humble, open-minded, and have a volunteer approach. It’s not sexy or well paying, so the people who are working in this area really want to be there, and are very passionate, engaged, and honest.
I think it’s that passion and honesty that continues to make the JTO Tobacco Control section so popular with our readers, and because it’s such a broad topic—it’s not narrow, and it’s not restricted to just the fine aspects of science or sociology or the craft of medicine. To understand tobacco control, which helps us understand smoking cessation, you must understand human nature. We learn a lot about how to think about tobacco control not only from tobacco control research, but also from the news, from literature, pop culture, and history. It’s an all-encompassing field and impacts everyone who works in respiratory medicine.
ILCN: For those who may not be familiar with JTO CRR, tell us a little about the importance of having this open access companion for JTO. What niche does JTO CRR fill and why is it necessary?
Dr. Stone: Its obvious role is as an IASLC companion journal for JTO, as a spillover journal in a way, but there’s more to it than that. Open access is critically important, particularly for parts of the world that may not have the resources to most of the non-open-access journals. I think one of the things that JTO and JTO CRR can do—and are doing—is developing and elevating the profile of research globally, and not just research from the big European and Western institutions, but top-notch research from around the world.
ILCN: You obviously wear many professional hats—physician, researcher, author, editor—what do you enjoy outside of work? What do you like to do to rest or recharge?
Dr. Stone: I have a family—three children and a husband who also has a busy career—and lots of friends I enjoy spending time with. I consider myself a bit of a “culture vulture” and I completely love and adore classical music, so I chase that down whenever I can. I dabble in a few things, but I don’t have any particularly strong hobbies that obsess me other than, perhaps, my writing. I love to travel and am enjoying getting to do more of that post-COVID, both within Australia, which has so much to offer, as well as getting back overseas. As for recreation in general, I spend as much time in the ocean as I possibly can.
ILCN: Is there anything else readers should know about you or JTO CRR?
Dr. Stone: First, I really would like to salute the guidance and mentorship of the JTO editors, particularly Alex Adjei and Jim Jett—I cannot sing their praises too highly. They, for me, personify the expertise, integrity, and humility that brings out the best in research and editorial work. Added to that are the many people who are on the editorial boards of both journals, and really throughout the IASLC. I can’t even begin to list all the names of the people who I respect and have inspired me over the years.
The IASLC struck me as a community right from the beginning and, moving forward, I hope that JTO CRR will serve that community as a top-notch journal that thoroughly and expertly addresses the questions and issues that are important to our readers.