This January/February issue of the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice marks the beginning of our 24th year of publication and is accompanied by a supplement issue "Injury & Violence Prevention" sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Guest editors for the supplement are Sally Thigpen and Marci Herz, health scientists with the Injury Center at CDC.
The January/February issue leads off with an article on the Philadelphia sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax as an evidence-based strategy to reduce chronic disease risk. Several local health departments have enacted SSB taxes but most of these efforts have been unsuccessful. This article outlines an approach used successfully in Philadelphia. The health benefits of this type of tax was not the rationale for the enactment of the law. Ethical implications are discussed.
A series of articles follows on infectious disease control and surveillance. Swann authors an article outlining the cooperation between the curative and public health sector in the Netherlands during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2015. This cooperation facilitated the timely identification, referral, and investigation of suspected Ebola virus disease cases.
Chan reports on an evaluation of monthly and annual surveillance reports by Public Health Ontario (PHO). An online survey was used to determine stakeholder perception of these reports. Recommendations are made for improving this activity. Purtle examines the current legal environment perceived by health departments and hospital officials for syndromic surveillance (SyS) in 7 US jurisdictions (5 states, one county, one city). Progress is documented in the legal framework permitting syndromic surveillance in the US.
In an article on hepatitis C by Ford of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Health, 4751 individuals were tested for Hepatitis C (HCV). One-fifth were antibody positive (n = 880) and 79% (n=512) of these had a current infection. The highest risk factor was intravenous drug use (40%) followed by incarceration (18%). Fourteen patients initiated treatment and 6 were cured.
Other articles in the issue include a quality improvement training initiative at local health departments in North Carolina, accreditation activities at rural health departments, and opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution.
The supplement describes catalyzing state public health agency actions to prevent injury and violence. A framework, proposed by former CDC Director Tom Frieden is applied to injury and violence programs using science and practice examples. Framework components include evidence-based innovations, performance management including evaluation, partnerships with public and private organizations, communication of accurate information, and political commitment to obtain resources and use them for effective action.
Lloyd F. Novick, MD, MPH Justin B. Moore, PhD, MS
Editor-in-Chief Associate Editor