Journal of Hand Therapy History

By Judith Bell Krotoski, OTR, CHT; Edited by Susan Johnson Melat, OTR, CVE, CHT -- 2002

When scientific papers were first presented at the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT) Annual Meetings, ASHT members realized they were too important to be left unpublished. It was envisioned that someday, the papers would be available in a collective reference within reach of all therapists.

The idea of an independent therapy journal was discussed with the Journal of Hand Surgery (JHS) editor, Adrian Flatt, MD, and other surgeons instrumental in supporting ASHT. The American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) helped support therapy publications first by agreeing to publish therapists’ scientific paper abstracts in the JHS, and later by agreeing to publish papers submitted by therapists.

When ASHT members investigated publishing a hand therapy journal, some publishers consulted declined consideration due to the risks involved; however, ASSH’s willingness to publish hand therapy abstract papers provided credibility to the idea, and supported the feasibility of the effort. The dream of an independent hand therapy journal became a reality in late 1987, when publishers Hanley and Belfus, Inc. produced the journal with Evelyn Macklin, LPT, as journal editor, due in large part to her contributions to the effort.

Despite a number of other requests by publications, and against all odds, the Journal of Hand Therapy was accepted for registration in the Index Medicus, Medline and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. The addition to these indexes demonstrates that we are leaders in scientific publications.

Published quarterly, the Journal of Hand Therapy’s circulation is now more than 4,000 readers, reaching over 44 different countries. Circulation has exceeded many other journals during its relatively brief existence, making the Journal of Hand Therapy a legend in its own time.