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BOSTON — In his first piece published as editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Eric Rubin leads with a joke: An international search for a successor to Dr. Jeffrey Drazen found its match a mere 100 yards away from the journal’s home in Harvard Medical School’s Countway Library.

Rubin, an infectious disease doctor and researcher on the faculty of the Harvard’s School of Public Health as well as its medical school, said despite his familiarity — he’s been an associate editor at NEJM since 2012 — change is inevitably coming. It did for Drazen, who over his 19-year tenure moved the venerable publication onto social media and embraced multimedia. Rubin alludes to that new world with another joke: “Though print may not be dead, it might soon need palliative care.”

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