Call for Papers

Public Health Reports Supplement on “Policy Approaches to Reduce the Morbidity, Mortality, and Incidence of HIV, Viral Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and Tuberculosis”

Public Health Reports (PHR), a peer-reviewed journal of public health research and practice and the official journal of the Office of the Surgeon General and US Public Health Service, is inviting submissions for a supplement on policy approaches to reduce the morbidity, mortality, and incidence of HIV, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and tuberculosis (TB) (collectively referred to as “diseases of interest” for purposes of this supplement) in the United States.

Policy, including legal, interventions play crucial roles in protecting and promoting the health and safety of our nation.1 Policy changes can have broad public health impacts and can be used for reducing avoidable health disparities and promoting health equity for all segments of society. Within the context of public health, policy approaches can include the creation and implementation of public health laws, regulations, procedures, or practices that influence systems development, institutional change, and individual behavior to promote improvements in health.2 Such policies can be implemented within many sectors, including health, education, transportation, employment, or corrections, among others.

This supplement is intended to present timely articles on policy interventions or strategies that have affected burden, outcomes, or disparities for the diseases of interest, whether or not such impacts were the express intent of the policy action. Policy approaches presented in this issue might have direct impact on health services or behaviors, or they might influence health services or behaviors through changes in social determinants of health3 (e.g., socioeconomic conditions, transportation options, educational or employment opportunities, or access to safe housing). Policy approaches presented might have been implemented by governmental bodies or other institutions, including but not limited to health-care providers, insurers, schools, community organizations, and businesses. Legal approaches presented can be at the federal, state, or local level, and can include statutory or regulatory actions. The supplement will include discussions of the impact and cost-effectiveness of policy approaches and potential impediments to these approaches to reduce the burden of disease, including among populations that are disproportionately affected by these diseases. Disproportionately affected groups include but are not limited to young adults or adolescents, racial/ethnic minorities, persons in correctional facilities, persons who inject drugs, sexual and gender minorities, persons experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, persons experiencing poverty, and non-U.S.–born persons residing in the United States.

The journal is calling for manuscripts addressing policies, including laws, in the following specific areas*:

  • associations between policies that restrict or expand civil or human rights and the incidence of the diseases of interest overall and among disproportionately affected populations;
  • impact of quality-improvement initiatives in health-care settings, correctional facilities, educational environments, and other settings on the incidence of the diseases of interest;
  • impact of laws allowing provision of health screening, immunization, and urgent care services in expanded settings (e.g., within retail stores and pharmacies) on the incidence of the diseases of interest;
  • associations between policies related to privacy (e.g., availability to parents of an insurer’s explanation of benefits for services provided to minors) and the uptake of services for the diseases of interest;
  • associations between laws supporting or prohibiting syringe service programs and the incidence of the diseases of interest and drug overdoses;
  • impact of health insurance coverage and copays on the uptake of preventive therapies, screening, or treatment for the diseases of interest and on the incidence of these diseases;
  • association between policies that affect testing or treatment for the diseases of interest and the incidence of these diseases;
  • impact of school immunization requirements (e.g., human papilloma virus vaccine requirements) on the uptake of vaccination and other preventive services for the diseases of interest;
  • impact of policies establishing routine screening and treatment for the diseases of interest in jails or prisons on the uptake of these services and the incidence of these diseases among incarcerated persons;
  • impact of policies or laws supporting expedited partner therapy to treat sex partners of patients with diagnosed STDs, including among gay or bisexual persons or men who have sex with men, on the incidence of these diseases;
  • impact of policies supporting reporting and use of CD4+ test results on the incidence of the diseases of interest;
  • associations between policies establishing reporting and use of health disparity measures for the diseases of interest and incidence of these diseases;
  • associations between taxation of alcohol or other products and the incidence of the diseases of interest;
  • impact on the diseases of interest of student health policies (e.g., the provision of clinical services, counseling, and other services for sexual and gender minority students, professional development for school staff on cultural competency for serving disadvantaged populations, and opt-out approaches to education about HIV and other STDs); and
  • impact on the diseases of interest on policies addressing transportation needs (e.g., health-care or health service providers routinely screening patients or clients to identify transportation challenges and providing referrals, as appropriate, to no- or low-cost transportation options to improve access to services).

*The list is intended to be illustrative rather than exhaustive. In addition, where the term incidence is used in the list, measures of morbidity and mortality also might be considered.

The guest editors for this supplement are Deron C. Burton, MD, JD, MPH, Associate Director for Health Equity, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Hazel D. Dean, ScD, MPH, Deputy Director, NCHHSTP, CDC; and Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH, Director, NCHHSTP, CDC.

Instructions for Authors

Submissions should be scholarly in nature and offer a clear contribution to new scientific knowledge or public health practice. Supplement submissions will be held to the same peer-review standards as other submissions to the journal.

The guest editors request that all authors interested in submitting a full manuscript to the supplement first send an abstract for initial review and comment. Abstracts should be submitted to Brandi Baker as soon as possible but no later than midnight of January 4, 2019. The guest editors will review all abstracts and then contact the authors about the suitability of a full manuscript submission. Submitted abstracts and final manuscripts should follow PHR’s Instructions for Contributorsexternal icon appropriate for the desired manuscript type, should be written in accordance with the AMA Manual of Style (10th ed.)4 and the Federal Plain Language Guidelinesexternal icon, and be no longer than 250 words (abstracts). No tables, figures, or references should be included in the abstract.

The following types of articles are acceptable: original research, public health evaluation, public health methodology, case study, brief report, reports and recommendations, topical review, and commentary. For more details about specific article types and corresponding review criteria, see PHR’s Instructions to Contributorsexternal icon.

After full manuscripts are invited and submitted, they will be assessed initially and directed for external peer review by the supplement’s guest editors and the PHR editor-in-chief. The submission deadline for full manuscripts is April 15, 2019. Manuscripts should be submitted through PHR’s electronic submission systemexternal icon.

PHR is published through an agreement with the Association of Schools of Public Health. It is the oldest journal of public health in the United States and has been published since 1878. The journal is widely distributed internationally and is indexed by MEDLINE/Index Medicus, Current Contents, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Pais International, and LexisNexis. More information about the journal is available at Public Health Reports websiteexternal icon.

Questions about this call for papers should be addressed to Brandi Baker. Questions about PHR should be addressed to the journal’s Managing Editor, Andrey Kuzmichev.

  1. Brownson RC, Chriqui JF, Stamatakis KA. Understanding evidence-based public health policy. Am J Public Health 2009;99:1576–83.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/Office of the Associate Director for Policy. Definition of policy. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2015 [cited October 17, 2018].
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Social Determinants of Health: Know What Affects Health. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2018 [cited October 17, 2018].
  4. Editors. AMA manual of style. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2007.