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Fulfilling a Need: A 20-Year Focus on Public Health Practice

Novick, Lloyd F. MD, MPH

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: January/February 2014 - Volume 20 - Issue 1 - p 1
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000044

Department of Public Health, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina.

Correspondence: Lloyd F. Novick, MD, MPH, Department of Public Health, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, 600 Moye Blvd, Greenville, NC 27834 (

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

This is the 20th anniversary issue of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice (JPHMP). The title of our first editorial in January 1995, “Fulfilling a Need: A Focus on Public Health Practice,” expressed the rationale for this publication. As then stated,

As public health practitioners know well, disease occurs in a context defined not only by agent and individual host but also by community-wide environmental and social factors. The challenge for leaders and workers in public health is to conceive, design, manage and carry through the new population-based measures that are needed in our communities.

JPHMP has strived to keep up with these public health challenges. In the last 2 decades, startling progress has been made in the advancement of public health. September 11, 2001, ushered in an era of preparedness and increased surveillance capacity. The role of informatics has greatly increased. Public health systems and services research emerged with important implications for our field. The need for public health infrastructure and an enhanced workforce has become critically important. We have kept to our mission with multiple issues in each of these areas: workforce, informatics, preparedness, public health systems and services research, and financial management of public health functions.

We have been guided for the last 20 years by a dedicated editorial board. At a recent editorial board meeting, I was struck by the number of board members who were now playing key roles in academia but had their experience and roots in practice. This emphasis will clearly be demonstrated in our May 2014 issue on Academic Health Departments with guest editors Paul Erwin and Bill Keck.

Our first issue in 1995 was devoted to health reform and public health reform. Prophetically, it contained the statement: “It is appropriate that this first issue be devoted to the challenge of reform in public health that is inextricably linked to reform in the delivery of medical care.” Ironically, the issue was to center around the Clinton health reform, and with the failure of that legislation, a number of changes had to be made in the final proofs of that publication. Now, we are again in the midst of health reform with major implications for public health. Our January 2015 issue, with guest editors Bud Nicola and Mark Bittle, will focus on the Affordable Care Act and its impact on public health.

It is fitting that the theme of our January 2014 20th anniversary issue is “Transforming Public Health Practice Through Accreditation.” Accreditation is indeed a transformative step forward in our field. Guest editors Les Beitsch, Liza Corso, Mary Davis, Brenda Joly, Jessica Kronstadt, and William Riley have worked for nearly 2 years to develop this remarkable publication. With this issue, there is a supplement sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Interventions to Reduce Sodium Intake. Future supplements include Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Centers also sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Healthy Kids Healthy Communities sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The support of our associate editor, Justin Moore, and our publisher, Beth Guthy, of Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, has been important to the success of JPHMP. The concluding paragraph of our 1995 first issue editorial remains as true as we move into our third decade:

In this era of reform of medical care, the field of public health is in transition. JPHMP is positioned to provide a forum where developments and innovations in practice can be described and assessed, providing direction for the important role of public health in the future.

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