Editor's Letter March

Massachusetts, the statistics tell us, has some of the world’s finest hospitals and M.D.s, as well as some of the country’s longest waits for doctor’s appointments. That latter fact weighed on our minds as we planned this month’s medical roundtable [“Here’s to Your Health”]. Going in, we figured we could glean plenty of insight by getting a bunch of top physicians and healthcare experts into a room to talk candidly about where the local system fails to live up to its promise—but how were we going to, you know, actually get these notoriously busy people into a room at the same time?

Turns out, it wasn’t that hard. And the reason had to do with more than the free sandwiches, or the salesmanship of associate style editor Sascha de Gersdorff, who organized the confab and produced our edited transcript. For moderator Dr. Jerome Groopman and the eight other members of the panel, the problems that frustrate us all—high costs, hasty diagnoses, and yes, long waits for appointments—are no less vexing. Ultimately, I suspect, the chance to share ideas with fellow industry leaders, to maybe gain new perspective on the issues, proved appealing. One conclusion our experts seemed to agree on is that patients can help themselves by becoming better informed—and one way you can do that is by reading the rest of their frank, enlightening exchanges, which begin on page 114.

The potential scheduling conflicts of our healthcare panelists weren’t the only logistical challenge we surmounted in producing this issue for you. Another involved the potential scheduling conflicts of our Next List honorees [page 98]. The package showcases emerging trends and ascendant Boston icons in fields as varied as real estate and standup comedy, and we had to shuttle all our subjects through photographer John Goodman’s studio during two marathon days of portrait shoots. As you can imagine, there were some memorable moments in the green room, as when Mitt Romney’s son turned campaign hand, Tagg Romney (the Next Cam Kerry), had to gingerly fetch his coat from a couch occupied by gruff rockers Damone (the Next Aerosmith)—for whom the prospect of a gratis lunch had been an enticement.

By the way, though we didn’t design it as such, I think our Next List could be the basis for a fun parlor game. (I almost wrote “drinking game,” but obviously we’re far too mature for that here.) Did our roster miss any legends in the making? What would the list look like if you were drawing it up? Send your suggestions to editor@bostonmagazine.com and we’ll print the best of them in the April issue. —James Burnett, editor