Following a recent 15-year history of unprecedented growth in publishing exciting discoveries in the fields of integrative anatomy and evolutionary biology, and establishing the journal as an international venue, The Anatomical Record (AR) is poised for even more innovation in the coming years through transition of the journal’s Editor-in-Chief (EIC).

The current EIC, Dr. Kurt H. Albertine, will be succeeded by Dr. Heather F. Smith, Professor of Anatomy and Director of Anatomical Laboratories at Midwestern University (MWU) in Glendale, AZ. Dr. Smith’s five-year term begins on January 1, 2021. An EIC Selection Committee chaired by Dr. Kem Rogers of Western University, Canada, executed a deliberate and careful process that endured the COVID-19 pandemic to arrive at Dr. Smith’s selection, approved by the Board of Directors. 

As incoming EIC, Dr. Smith’s exciting vision for AR includes, among others, combining innovative leadership approaches to disseminate pioneering anatomical research that uses novel technologies; bringing to the forefront discoveries about historically understudied taxonomic groups; and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion across AR’s mission through special issues and other publication opportunities.

Upon selection, Dr. Smith remarked, “I’m thrilled to have been chosen as the next Editor-in-Chief for The Anatomical Record. I plan to bring to this excellent journal a dynamic vision that guides the journal in an increasingly innovative direction. I’m grateful to Dr. Albertine for his wonderful leadership at the journal over the past 15 years and for his kind support. I look forward to working with him and learning from him through the transition.” In addition to the visionary innovations noted above, Dr. Smith is the first woman to serve as EIC of The Anatomical Record or any of the AAA journals.

AAA President Dr. D. Rick Sumner of Rush University underscored the timeliness of the transition in editorship, noting, “Dr. Albertine expertly steered The Anatomical Record through numerous changes, queueing it up for Dr. Smith to build upon those innovations. Dr. Smith provided the search committee with many exciting, innovative approaches to publishing. Moreover, her selection as the next Editor-in-Chief underscores our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of the Association, including publishing. I personally look forward to the energy and insight she’ll bring to the journal.”

Reflecting on Dr. Albertine’s storied 15-year record as EIC, Dr. Sumner added, “We are indebted to him for his enduring guidance, his unforgettable personality, and his profound commitment to advancing scholarly publishing of anatomical research.”

About Dr. Heather F. Smith

At Midwestern, Dr. Smith explores research in five focus areas: morphological evolution extant and fossil turtles, including paleontological explorations of Eocene and Late Cretaceous sites; functional morphology of carnivoran musculoskeletal anatomy; human and nonhuman primate crania morphology and evolution using geometric morphometric techniques; evolution of the cecal appendix; and clinical implications of human anatomical variation.

Her editorial experience includes serving on the Senior Editorial Board of Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group), on the Editorial Board of Biomed Research International (Anatomy subject area), and as an invited Guest Editor for a special issue on anatomical variation and clinical diagnosis in Diagnostics. In addition, she is a lead author or co-author on three dozen peer-reviewed publications.

Dr. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Anthropology from Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College, a Master of Arts in Physical Anthropology from Stony Book University, and a Doctor of Physical Anthropology from Arizona State University. She completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Arizona—College of Medicine Phoenix. At MWU, she runs the university’s Body Donation Program, oversees lab safety in all anatomy laboratories on both MWU campuses (Glendale, AZ, and Downers Grove, IL), teaches gross anatomy to medical and graduate healthcare students, and conducts research.

She has been a member of AAA since 2007 and participates in several other scientific societies. She serves on AAA’s newly established Human Body Donor Task Force, represents MWU on the Executive Board of the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois, and is a Clinical Faculty Member in Anatomy for the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners.

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