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Types of Articles

The following are brief descriptions of articles published by Preventing Chronic Disease (PCD). Prospective authors should review the manuscript checklists provided for each category. These checklists present the criteria by which peer reviewers judge whether to recommend publishing a paper.

Public Health Practice Brief

May be subject to peer review

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The various stages in implementing evidence-based public health practices are designed to tackle a range of complex factors operating at the individual, family, organization, community, and system levels. Identifying and addressing a range of factors that influence health are at the core of public health research, evaluation, and practice. Often, given this complexity, public health approaches to improve population health require time and patience before data are available and health improvement can be achieved. PCD recognizes that important insights can be gained, outside of traditional research and evaluation models, into the myriad ways practitioners, researchers, evaluators, and policy makers create and implement promising plans, practices, strategies, projects, programs, trainings, and system changes.

PCD welcomes submissions outside of traditional research and evaluation that provide a clear understanding of how real-world challenges in public health are met with tailored evidence-based public health practice. The kinds of topics that fit with Public Health Practice Briefs include communicating public health information, public health theories/models, evaluation plans, leadership development, multi-partnership data sharing agreements, public health management, sustainability plans, public health policy, community engagement, and innovative public health planning approaches. Potential topics of interest include:

  • Opportunities and challenges to increasing access to healthy food in rural areas
  • Identifying steps toward developing smoking cessation programs that address social, physical, and environmental factors associated with adult cigarette smokers
  • Real-world strategies to promote sustainability of effective obesity prevention programs in school settings
  • Applying a systems thinking approach to develop a multicomponent intervention to address pediatric asthma

Public Health Practice Briefs are intended to offer a practice perspective and do not require the presentation of data. Authors are expected to share important adoptable, feasible, resource-sensitive, and relevant best practices or lessons learned that are derived from real-world settings and experiences. Public Health Practice Briefs should identify obstacles to program implementation and sustainability and offer ways to ameliorate challenges to best achieve intended outcomes in both the short term and long term.

Public Health Practice Briefs have an open format with the exception of an unstructured abstract of 150 words or less and 2 required headings: Background and Implications for Public Health Practice. Other than those requirements, authors have the flexibility to use headings within the manuscript that assist in organizing and conveying information in an easy-to-follow structure that is most helpful to PCD’s primary audience of researchers, evaluators, and policy makers.

Background

Authors should describe the primary focus of the manuscript, such as introducing the disease and related problem addressed and explaining the importance of the health problem; provide definitions of terms specific to the context of the manuscript; and state any objectives related to the topic of the manuscript and results of interest (eg, effects, products, changes, consequences).

Implications for Public Health Practice

Authors should provide insight on how information shared in the manuscript can shape current and/or future public health practice; share any obstacles that impede program implementation along with potential solutions to achieve the desired outcomes; include best practices and lessons learned and share insights on what contributed to what was observed/reported and what could be improved; and conclude by discussing ways findings may be useful in comparable real-world settings.

Abstract: unstructured, 150 words
Number of words:
text, 2,000 words
References: 15
Tables/Figures:

  • 2 tables, or
  • 2 figures, or
  • 1 table/1 figure

Summary Box: In 1 or 2 sentences for each, contributors should answer the following: What is already known on this topic? What is added by this report? and What are the implications for public health practice? These answers contain the key public health message, as well as the justification for the publication. Total word limit should be no more than 75‒100 words. Answers longer than 100 words will be edited to meet the word limit.

 

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GIS Snapshots

Subject to peer review

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Submissions to this category may include one or more maps that address chronic disease outcomes, risk factors, and/or relevant community characteristics, policies, and programs. We welcome submissions that address a broad range of chronic disease conditions (including injury, mental health, etc) and that can be used in a wide range of settings (eg, access to care, policy and program development, etc).

The map(s) may include a single layer of data or multiple layers of data. The map(s) should be easy to comprehend and visually appealing. All maps should be submitted as vector-based files (extensions .ai, .eps, .svg, .drw) formatted to fit a standard 8.5 in x 11 in portrait layout. Any color scheme may be chosen; recommended color combinations can be found at the Color Brewer website: www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/c/a/cab38/ColorBrewer/ColorBrewer_intro.htmlexternal iconexternal icon

When using a monochromatic color scheme, use the following percentages to ensure distinction between screen tints:

  • 2 tints: 30%, 50%
  • 3 tints: 10%, 25%, 50%
  • 4 tints: 10%, 20%, 50%, 80%
  • 5 tints: 10%, 20%, 40%, 60%, 100%
  • 6 tints: 10%, 15%, 25%, 40%, 60%, 100%

The legend for each map should clearly and succinctly describe the data displayed on the map, including the date of data collection. Data sources should be documented on the map as footnotes. Each map should be able to stand independently without explanation from the text.

Map submissions should be accompanied by a title for the map.

In addition to the map(s) and title(s), submissions should include the following 5 sections of text:

Map Caption

Map should include a brief text caption of 75 words or less summarizing the main messages of the map and their importance; for example, indicate how the information can be used or how the information adds to our understanding of the geographic distribution of the condition. This caption will appear underneath the map.

Background
Introduce the topic of the map(s) and discuss why it is important in the context of chronic disease prevention. Include references if appropriate.

Data Sources and Map Logistics
This section provides the basic information needed to understand the data displayed on the map. Provide a brief overview of the methods, including data sources used to create the map, a short description of any data analyses performed, and the mapping techniques employed.

Highlights
Describe the main findings on the map(s) and their importance.

Action
Describe ways in which the map(s) can or will be used to prevent chronic disease (eg, informing decision making on policies and/or programs, facilitating partnerships with relevant organizations, educating the public) or adds to our understanding of the geographic distribution of the condition.

Number of words: explanatory text, 1,000 words
Number of references: 10

 

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Program Evaluation Brief

Subject to peer review

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Program Evaluation Briefs are short articles that focus on understanding how various aspects of activities related to program implementation, program performance, health policy, and/or systems change influence health outcomes. This article type recognizes that public health programs offer important and timely opportunities to improve public health in diverse settings (eg, schools, worksites, health care, communities, and places of worship). Programs (also referred to as public health and clinical interventions) are often collaborative, multifaceted, multicomponent, and multisite with diverse participants, stakeholders, and partnerships. As such, evaluations must frequently be multimodal and sensitive to context (eg, participant characteristics, setting characteristics, economic and social factors, staffing availability, staffing capacity, organizational support, organizational change, and fiscal resources).

All Program Evaluation Briefs must present findings generated from qualitative methods (eg, focus groups, interviews), quantitative methods (eg, quasi-experimental, experimental), or mixed methods (both qualitative and quantitative). Potential topics of interest include:

  • Whether a program, policy, and/or systems change had an impact on improving its reach and access to its target population
  • How well a program was implemented
  • Whether costs were reasonable in relation to the program’s effectiveness and benefit
  • Drivers and barriers surrounding program implementation, outcomes, or sustainability, in particular how they may have varied by site/location
  • Potential areas for improvement that increase a program’s efficacy and cost effectiveness
  • Whether and how a program, policy, and/or system change could be expanded to other settings, geographic areas, and populations facing similar public health challenges
  • Which evaluation efforts were effectively employed during different program phases such as program planning, implementation, completion, dissemination, and reporting

Priority will be given to manuscripts using evaluation approaches that report findings among the topic areas above and on a program’s impact on improving health outcomes. Articles can share preliminary findings from reported evaluation efforts. PCD is also interested in learning about factors and circumstances that can help the field learn what did not work and why. Articles will not be considered for this article type if they focus exclusively on the importance of coalitions, partnerships and collaborations, providing program descriptions, theoretical framework descriptions, literature reviews, opinion pieces, commentaries, or essays.

Abstract
The unstructured abstract has no more than 6 sentences, each one corresponding to the subheadings in the body of the paper: Introduction, Purpose and Objectives, Intervention Approach, Evaluation Methods, Results, and Implications for Public Health.

Introduction
Describe the public health concern of interest that the intervention is designed to address. The public health concern can address one or a combination of the following: chronic disease, health behaviors, structural and environmental supports, policy changes, and health system changes.

The introduction must provide the following information:

  • Purpose and rationale for selecting the evaluation method, including literature support and the circumstances under which the implementation and evaluation activities occurred
  • Partnerships and project staff critical in conceptualizing, implementing, and evaluating this effort
  • Intervention period during which reported activities were implemented and evaluated
  • Information on when data collection was initiated and completed

Purpose and Objectives
Describe the intervention and how it is thought to improve health outcomes. Describe how the implementation and evaluation were planned. Describe the intervention — whether it was an adopted or modified intervention derived from previous efforts or newly developed and not previously evaluated. Program planning must be evidence-driven, based on some form of pre-implementation assessment to determine priority areas, and evidence-based strategies to address needs and identify factors that shaped implementation of the intervention. State the specific objectives or evaluation questions for the intervention (How were stakeholders engaged? What process was used to identify and measure outcomes?). Present relevant characteristics of the setting and population in which the intervention was conducted or evaluated. Setting characteristics may include staff capacity, evaluation expertise, securing support, intervention fidelity, and human and fiscal resources.

Intervention Approach
Intervention approach is defined as a combination of actions taken to address a set of factors necessary to improve population health. Describe the intervention approach used to frame the overall work being described in the article. The intervention approach must be supported by insights derived from published literature and current data on the disease prevalence. The description should clearly delineate the assumptions underlying the intervention. The intervention approach must be intentionally linked to the evaluation methods used to obtain the evaluation findings. Link the intervention approach to the results being reported (outcomes, measures, indicators). Use an illustrative figure or diagram to demonstrate the relationship among the public health concern, contextual factors influencing health and intervention efforts, intervention components, essential partnerships, evaluation approach, and outcomes of interest.

Evaluation Methods
Provide a rationale and describe the process used in selecting the evaluation methods described in the article. The rationale for evaluation method selection may include participation rates, data collection approaches, availability of qualitative and quantitative data, frequency of data collection, and outcomes.

Describe the evaluation method and evaluation design used to conduct the evaluation. Evaluation methods could have been used at different stages for different components of an intervention. Authors should ensure that the links between the intervention components being discussed and the evaluation approaches demonstrate alignment with the outcomes reported in the article.

Articles involving human subjects must include the name of the institutional review board that approved the work. If appropriate, authors should provide the participation rate in terms of a numerator and a denominator. Authors should report pre-evaluation calculation of required sample size. Provide the significance level established for quantitative data. Evaluators using qualitative methods should justify why the number of participants being reported adds credibility to reported findings. Identify the qualitative or quantitative statistical software used.

Results
Provide characteristics of study participants (eg, number of participants, age distribution, sex, racial/ethnic characteristics, geographic location) in a concise and accurate way. Results should be specific and relevant to all objectives and evaluation questions. All results reported should align with information presented in all other sections of the article. Use tables and figures to support linkages between intervention activities, findings, and recommendations. Results should aid the understanding of factors in real-world settings that influence how intervention efforts are delivered.

Implications for Public Health
Address all objectives and evaluation questions and objectively assess the strengths and weaknesses of the evaluation. Give equal emphasis to discussing positive and negative findings of equal technical, methodologic, and scientific merit. Share information that would help readers ascertain what evaluators learned that would shape refinement of the intervention. Share insights on how the evaluation approach could be improved. Discuss ways that readers can facilitate diffusion and uptake of a similar evidence-based intervention in comparable real-world settings.

Abstract: unstructured, 150 words
Number of words:
text, 2,000 words
References: 15.
Tables/Figures:

  • 2 tables, or
  • 2 figures, or
  • 1 table/1 figure

Summary Box: In 1 or 2 sentences for each, contributors should answer the following: What is already known on this topic? What is added by this report? and What are the implications for public health practice? These answers contain the key public health message, as well as the justification for the publication. Total word limit should be no more than 75‒100 words. Answers longer than 100 words will be edited to meet the word limit.

 

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Original Research

Subject to peer review

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These articles present research results to a broad audience of public health professionals. They explain the value of the research to public health and the relevance of the findings to chronic disease prevention.

We welcome articles from many disciplines as long as the research results are pertinent to preventing or reducing the effects of chronic disease. Potential topics of interest include:

  • Effect of a physical activity program on cardiovascular, strength, and mobility outcomes among adults aged 55 or older
  • Increasing colorectal cancer screening in health care systems using evidence-based interventions
  • A randomized trial of a behavioral intervention to reduce the effects of diabetes
  • An examination of a program to increase awareness of signs and symptoms of stroke
  • A focus group analysis of older adult perspectives on physical activity
  • A surveillance report analyzing systematically or continuously collected health-related data
  • Psychosocial and behavioral risk profiles of cigarette smokers and e-cigarette users among adolescents
  • Identifying geographic disparities in chronic disease mortality in local communities, counties, states, regions, or countries

Articles that report results of randomized controlled trials must conform to the standards of the CONSORT statement (www.consort-statement.orgexternal iconexternal icon). In addition, all randomized controlled trials described in an original research article must be registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (http://clinicaltrials.gov/external iconexternal icon).

Use the following subheadings in the Abstract: Introduction, Methods, Results, Conclusion. Use the following subheadings in the body of the paper: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion.

Introduction 
Explain the context of the study and the importance of the study question. State the precise objective of the study in the final paragraph. If more than 1 objective is addressed, state the main objective and note only key secondary objectives. Provide a brief literature review to identify gaps in knowledge on the study topic and show how the study will add to what is already known. Define terms specific to the context of the manuscript. This section should be no longer than 300 words.

Methods
State and describe the type of study design used. Provide the dates of the study. If the study describes an intervention, describe the essential features of the intervention. Provide survey questions for a study that includes a survey. Describe the setting from which participants are drawn (eg, general community, school, hospital, worksite), including a description of key demographic features. Provide detailed inclusion and exclusion criteria for study participants. Describe recruitment of study participants and sampling procedures. If the manuscript describes research involving human subjects, include a statement that the research was approved by an institutional review board. Provide the participation rate in terms of a numerator and a denominator. Report the pre-study calculation of required sample size. Provide a section on statistical methods. Identify the statistical software that was used and report the level at which significance was established. Use the active voice.

Results
Results should be specific and relevant to the research hypothesis, research question, or study aim. All results reported should have a corresponding section in the Methods section. Present characteristics of the study participants (eg, number, age distribution, sex, racial/ethnic characteristics). Provide the main outcomes of the study. For surveys, provide the response rate. Give measures of data distribution or precision (eg, standard deviation, 95% confidence intervals). Provide information on how study participants may compare with people not included in the study. Explain outcomes or measurements that may be unfamiliar to a general public health readership. Describe validation measures if they are included as part of the study.

Discussion
Address the hypothesis, research question, or study aim and objectively evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the study. Give equal emphasis to positive and negative findings of equal scientific merit. Avoid a lengthy reiteration of the Results section. Compare and contrast study findings with findings of similar studies. Mention unexpected findings and suggest explanations. Discuss the limitations of the study. Discuss the generalizability of the results and the implications of the study for public health, but avoid speculation and overgeneralization. If appropriate, suggest future potential studies. End this section with a clear, concise conclusion that is directly supported by the study findings.

Abstract: structured, 250 words
Number of words: text, 3,500 words
References: 30
Tables: 3
Figures: 2

Summary Box: In 1 or 2 sentences for each, contributors should answer the following: What is already known on this topic? What is added by this report? What are the implications for public health practice? These answers contain the key public health message, as well as the justification for the publication. Total word limit should be no more than 75‒100 words. Answers longer than 100 words will be edited to meet the word limit.
 

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Implementation Evaluation

Subject to peer review

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Implementation Evaluation articles provide information to program planners, policy makers, evaluators, researchers, and diverse stakeholders on how to refine evaluation methods; make health system improvements; strengthen collaborations and partnerships; build organizational infrastructure; measure return on investments; and enhance data collection approaches. Implementation Evaluation articles provide insights into factors that affect the ability of public health practice to successfully package and disseminate effective interventions that have been implemented and evaluated in real-world settings. Although successful intervention efforts are important, PCD is also interested in learning about factors and circumstances that can help the field learn what did not work and why.

All Implementation Evaluation articles must present findings generated from qualitative methods (eg, focus groups, interviews), quantitative methods (eg, quasi-experimental, experimental), or mixed methods (both qualitative and quantitative). Evaluation studies could also explore economic analyses focusing on cost analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, return on investment, and cost-benefit analysis. Priority will be given to manuscripts using evaluation approaches that report short-term and long-term health outcomes. Articles will not be considered for this article type is they focus on program descriptions, theoretical framework descriptions, literature reviews, opinion pieces, commentaries, or essays. Potential topics of interest include:

  • Cost-effectiveness of clinical and community lifestyle interventions to improve cardiovascular health among older adults
  • Factors influencing regional diffusion of an effective fruit and vegetable prescription program on children’s fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Communitywide collaboration to promote early adoption of evidence-based strategies to

reduce cardiovascular disease risk among adults living with diabetes

Use the following subheadings in the structured abstract: Purpose and Objectives, Intervention Approach, Evaluation Methods, Results, and Implications for Public Health.

Introduction 
Describe the public health concern of interest that the intervention is designed to address. The public health concern can address one or a combination of the following: chronic disease, health behaviors, structural and environmental supports, policy changes, and health system changes.

The introduction must provide the following information:

  • Purpose and rationale for selecting the evaluation method, including literature support and the circumstances under which the implementation and evaluation activities occurred.
  • Partnerships and project staff critical in conceptualizing, implementing, and evaluating this effort.
  • Intervention period during which reported activities were implemented and evaluated. (NOTE: Authors should include information on when data collection was initiated and completed.)

Purpose and Objectives

Describe how the implementation and evaluation were planned.  Describe the intervention — whether it was an adapted or modified intervention derived from previous efforts or newly developed and not previously evaluated. Program planning must be evidence-driven, based on some form of pre-implementation assessment to determine priority areas, and use evidence-based strategies to address needs and identify factors that shaped implementation of the intervention. State the specific objectives or evaluation questions for the intervention (eg, How were stakeholders engaged? What process was used to identify and measure outcomes?).

Intervention Approach
Intervention approach is defined as a combination of actions taken to address a set of factors necessary to improve population health. Describe the intervention approach used to frame the overall work being described in the article. The description should clearly delineate the assumptions underlying the intervention. Innovative approaches are welcomed: however, authors are still required to provide justification or rationale for their creation. Present a clear intervention approach (often referred to as a program model, logic framework or guiding theory, or theory of) that would help readers understand the importance of the intervention, the components constituting the intervention, the short-term and long-term outcomes, and the selected evaluation methods. The intervention approach must be intentionally linked to the evaluation methods used to obtain the evaluation findings.  Describe how other relevant information was used to develop the reported intervention approach, if such information is available and relevant. Examples include demographic shifts, geographic factors, setting attributes, economic factors, needs assessments, capacity-building needs, stakeholder input, and pilot studies. Use an illustrative figure or diagram to demonstrate the relationship among the public health concern, contextual factors influencing health and intervention efforts, intervention components, essential partnerships, evaluation approach, and outcomes of interest.

Evaluation Methods
Provide a rationale and describe the process used in selecting the evaluation methods described in the article. The rationale for evaluation method selection may include participation rates, data collection approaches, availability of qualitative and quantitative data, frequency of data collection, outcomes, and with whom evaluation findings will be or have been shared. It is critically important that authors describe how selected outcomes (measures or indicators) reliably capture the success or failure of the intervention.

Describe the method and design used to conduct the evaluation. Evaluation methods could have been used at different stages for different components of an intervention. Authors should ensure that the links between the intervention components being discussed and the evaluation approaches demonstrate alignment with the outcomes reported in the article.

Articles involving human subjects must include the name of the institutional review board that approved the work. Provide the participation rate in terms of a numerator and a denominator. Report pre-evaluation calculation of required sample size. Provide the significance level established for quantitative data. Evaluators using qualitative methods should justify why the number of participants being reported adds credibility to reported findings. Identify the qualitative or quantitative statistical software used.

Results
Provide characteristics of study participants (eg, number of participants, age distribution, sex, racial/ethnic characteristics). Results should be specific and relevant to all objectives and evaluation questions. All results reported should align with information presented in all other sections of the article. Use tables and figures to support linkages between intervention activities, findings, and recommendations. Results should aid the understanding of factors in real-world settings that influence how intervention efforts are delivered.

Implications for Public Health
Address the objectives and evaluation questions and objectively assess the strengths and weaknesses of the evaluation. Give equal emphasis to positive and negative findings of equal technical, methodologic, and scientific merit. Delineate ways that the reported evaluation findings can be used by others to increase implementation fidelity and improve population health in real-world settings with similar contextual factors. Share information that would help readers ascertain what evaluators learned that would shape refinement of the intervention. Share insights on how the evaluation approach could be improved. Discuss ways that readers can facilitate diffusion and uptake of a similar evidence-based intervention in a comparable real-world setting.

 

Abstract: unstructured, 300 words
Number of words:
text, 4,500 words
References: 40
Tables: 5
Figures: 4

Summary Box: In 1 or 2 sentences for each, contributors should answer the following: What is already known on this topic? What is added by this report? and What are the implications for public health practice? These answers contain the key public health message, as well as the justification for the publication. Total word limit should be no more than 75‒100 words. Answers longer than 100 words will be edited to meet the word limit.
 

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Research Brief

Subject to peer review

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These short articles are a condensed version of our original research articles and present research results of interest to a broad audience of public health professionals. They explain the value of the research to public health and the relevance of the findings to reducing or preventing chronic disease. We welcome articles from many disciplines as long as the research results are pertinent to preventing or reducing the effects of chronic disease.There should be no more than 2 figures or 2 tables or 1 of each. The tables and figures should be well constructed, easy to comprehend, and visually appealing. Information in the tables or figures should not be duplicated in the text but should be consistent with information in the text. Tables and figures should stand independently without requiring explanation from the text. We encourage the use of photographs, illustrations, newspaper clippings, short video or audio files (up to 5 minutes), multimedia, or other information that complements the article and that can be delivered or linked to via the Web.

The unstructured abstract has no more than 4 sentences, each one corresponding to the subheadings in the body of the paper: Objective, Methods, Results, Discussion.

Objective 
This section should be no more than 100 words.
State clearly the main purpose of the research and the main hypothesis to be tested or the main question to be answered. Explain the context of the study and the importance of the study question. Provide definitions of terms specific to the context.

Methods
This section should be no more than 300 words.
State the type of study design used. Provide the dates of study. For a study that describes an intervention, note the essential features of the intervention. Describe briefly the setting from which the participants are drawn. Provide inclusion and exclusion criteria for participants. If the manuscript describes research involving human subjects, include a statement that the research was approved by an institutional review board. Provide the participation rate in terms of a numerator and a denominator. Describe any controls used. Report the prestudy calculation of required sample size. Provide brief information on statistical methods.

Results
This section should be no more than 300 words.
Report only the most relevant results and provide the main outcomes. Results should be specific and relevant to the research hypothesis. All results reported should have a corresponding section in the Methods section. Present key characteristics of study participants (eg, number, age distribution, sex, racial/ethnic characteristics). For surveys, provide the response rate. Give measures of data distribution or precision (eg, standard deviation, 95% confidence intervals). Provide information on how study participants may compare to people not included in the study. If validation measures are part of the study, describe them.

Discussion
This section should be no more than 300 words.
Address the research question or hypothesis and note strengths and weaknesses of the study. Give equal emphasis to positive and negative findings of equal scientific merit. Avoid a lengthy reiteration of the Results section. Mention unexpected findings and suggest explanations. Note limitations of the study and generalizability of the results. If appropriate, suggest future potential studies, but avoid speculation and overgeneralization. End the section with a clear, concise conclusion that is directly supported by the study findings.

Number of words: text, 1,000 words; abstract, 100 words.
References: 12.
Tables/Figures:

  • 2 tables, or
  • 2 figures, or
  • 1 table/1 figure

Summary Box: In 1 or 2 sentences for each, contributors should answer the following: What is already known on this topic? What is added by this report? and What are the implications for public health practice? These answers contain the key public health message, as well as the justification for the publication. Total word limit should be no more than 75‒100 words. Answers longer than 100 words will be edited to meet the word limit.
 

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Tools for Public Health Practice

Subject to peer review

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NOTE: Before submitting a manuscript under this article type, email a 1-paragraph summary to the Editor in Chief at PCDeditor@cdc.gov for consideration.

These are instructional materials for professional development that focus on the practical application of methods. They are written intentionally as how-to articles. Sample topics include how to develop a logic model as a tool for program planning and evaluation, how to design and implement legal frameworks that can broaden the range of effective public health strategies, and how to use geographic information systems to assess environmental supports for physical activity.

The article should be instructional, showing readers how to apply a particular method. It should explain the public health context of the “tool” and provide definitions of terms specific to the context of the manuscript. The tool  should be described in a way that allows others with sufficient skills and interest to implement it on their own. The strengths and weaknesses of the tool or technique should be objectively evaluated. If appropriate, suggest areas of future research.

Tables, figures, and other graphics should be well constructed, easy to comprehend, and visually appealing. Information in tables, figures, and other graphics should not be duplicated in text but should be consistent with the information in the text. Tables, figures, and other graphics should be able to stand independently without requiring explanation from the text. We encourage the use of photographs, illustrations, newspaper clippings, short video or audio files (up to 5 minutes), multimedia, or other information that complements the article and that can be delivered or linked to via the Web. The submission should include at least 3 headings in the body of the text; these headings must be creative (ie, not Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion). Use an unstructured abstract.

Number of words: text, 3,000 words; abstract, 250 words.
Number of references: 40
Tables: 3
Figures: 2
Summary Box: In 1 or 2 sentences for each, contributors should answer the following: What is already known on this topic? What is added by this report? and What are the implications for public health practice? These answers contain the key public health message, as well as the justification for the publication. Total word limit should be no more than 75‒100 words. Answers longer than 100 words will be edited to meet the word limit.
 

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Systematic Review

Subject to peer review

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These articles provide systematic assessments of literature and data sources pertaining to our Scope of Interests. Authors should describe their methods for performing the review, including the ways information was searched for, selected, and summarized. Meta-analyses also will be considered as reviews. Minireviews provide brief historical perspectives or summaries of developments in fast-moving areas (fewer than 2,000 words and 40 references).Tables, figures, and other graphics should be well constructed, easy to comprehend, and visually appealing. Information in tables, figures, and other graphics should not be duplicated in text but should be consistent with the information in the text. Tables, figures, and other graphics should be able to stand independently without requiring explanation from the text. We encourage the use of photographs, illustrations, newspaper clippings, short video or audio files (up to 5 minutes), multimedia, or other information that complements the article and that can be delivered or linked to via the Web.

Use the following subheadings in the abstract: Introduction, Methods, Results, Conclusion. Use the following subheadings in the body of the paper: Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion.

Introduction 
State the review question and explain its importance. State the precise primary objective. This section should be no more than 300 words.

Methods
The Methods section should include the following 3 subheadings: Data sources, Study selection, and Data extraction.

Data sources.
Describe the search strategy. Identify and succinctly summarize data sources. Identify the exact years. Use the most current information possible for your search. The search should be conducted no more than several months before the manuscript is submitted. Consider all potential data sources. State the exact search terms used to identify and retrieve articles. Cite search constraints.

Study selection.
Describe inclusion and exclusion criteria for selecting studies for detailed review. Provide details on the disease, population, intervention, methodologic design, or outcome being studied. State the method used to identify and apply inclusion and exclusion criteria. State the proportion that met the selection criteria of the studies initially identified.

Data extraction.
Describe the guidelines used to extract data and assess data quality and validity. Provide information on how the guidelines were applied (eg, independent extraction by multiple observers). End this section with a description on how the data collected were analyzed.

Results
State the main results of the review in the first paragraph. All results should be well described, specific, and relevant to the review question. All results reported should have a corresponding section in the Methods section. For numerical results, give measures of data distribution or precision (eg, standard deviation, 95% confidence intervals).

Discussion
Objectively evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the study. Give equal emphasis to positive and negative findings. Avoid a lengthy reiteration of the Results section. Compare and contrast study findings with findings of similar studies. Mention and explain unexpected findings. Discuss the limitations of the study and the generalizability of the results. Discuss implications for public health and, if appropriate, suggest potential future studies, but avoid speculation and overgeneralization. The section should end with a clear, concise conclusion that is directly supported by the study findings. The interpretation of the data should be limited to the domain of the review.

Number of words: text, 3,500 words; abstract, 300 words.
References: no limit.
Tables: 3
Figures: 2
Summary Box: In 1 or 2 sentences for each, contributors should answer the following: What is already known on this topic? What is added by this report? and What are the implications for public health practice? These answers contain the key public health message, as well as the justification for the publication. Total word limit should be no more than 75‒100 words. Answers longer than 100 words will be edited to meet the word limit.
 

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Letter

May be subject to peer review

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Letters focus on the scientific, clinical, or ethical issues raised by an article previously published in PCD. Letters may be subject to peer review, and, as with other articles, they will be edited for clarity, sense, and style. Authors have the right to refuse publication after editorial revisions have been made. If warranted, journal editorial staff will solicit a reply from the author of the corresponding article; both letter and reply may appear in the same issue. Support your point of view with evidence and cite references to support your argument. Citations should be up to date and relevant. The letter should be written clearly and concisely and should be free of jargon. Letters require statements of authorship responsibility and disclosure of conflicts of interest. List authors and their affiliations at the end of the letter. Note that some indexing/abstracting services do not include letters in their databases.Tables, figures, and other graphics should be well constructed, easy to comprehend, and visually appealing. Information in tables, figures, and other graphics should not be duplicated in text but should be consistent with the information in the text. Tables, figures, and other graphics should be able to stand independently without requiring explanation from the text. We encourage the use of photographs, illustrations, newspaper clippings, short video or audio files (up to 5 minutes), multimedia, or other information that complements the article and that can be delivered or linked to via the Web.

Number of words: 600 words.
References: 6.
Tables/Figures:

  • 2 tables, or
  • 2 figures, or
  • 1 table/1 figure

 

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Essay

May be subject to peer review

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Essays are opinion pieces that provide thoughtful discussion of contemporary issues in public health. They raise issues of interest to researchers and practitioners, initiate or focus discussion, or propose a position or consensus statement. Essays can report on unusual cases or personal experiences. Not suitable are reviews, methods, how-to papers, or responses to published articles.Tables, figures, and other graphics should be well constructed, easy to comprehend, and visually appealing. Information in tables, figures, and other graphics should not be duplicated in text but should be consistent with the information in the text. Tables, figures, and other graphics should be able to stand independently without requiring explanation from the text. We encourage the use of photographs, illustrations, newspaper clippings, short video or audio files (up to 5 minutes), multimedia, or other information that complements the article and that can be delivered or linked to via the Web.

Number of words: text, 1,500 words; no abstract required.
References: 10.
 

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The opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors’ affiliated institutions.

Page last reviewed: September 19, 2019