Letter from the Executive Editor

Celebrations, Collaborations, & Continuity

  • Serena Xiong


Dear readers,

We have made it to the end of our second year of the COVID-19 pandemic here in the United States. It is such an important milestone to recognize and I hope that you are taking the time during the holidays and break to reflect, relax, and recharge for the new year. Celebrations are needed now more than ever to lift our spirits, so that we can continue cultivating the work of advancing health equity.

For our December issue (Volume 4, Issue 2), we have a wide variety of original research articles ranging from a cost-effectiveness analysis of a community-mobilization program in Zambia to a comparative analysis of dental policies in Minnesota rural populations. Also covered in this release: an issue brief advocating for the decriminalization of self-managed abortion in the United States; an op-ed proposing free-market solutions to high drug prices; research analyzing sociodemographic differences in COVID-19 cases in Michigan; and more.

This issue also includes submissions to our call for papers for a new thematic section, Housing and Home. Our experiment with a themed section intended to center how housing and other dynamics in the home intersect with health, as highlighted in original research on homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth in Minnesota and in an issue brief emphasizing disparities in neural tube defects tied to food policy. With the recent emphasis on the role of housing on outbreaks and disease transmission for COVID-19, there is an even more urgent need to better understand disease risk mitigation and the drivers of health disparities. We hope that the contributions in this call will drive future research agenda, measures, and methods needed to advance research and policy on health and housing.

As is customary, I want to share with you all some of the initiatives that this year’s editorial team were able to accomplish. Amid the backdrop of continued virtual meetings and emerging COVID-19 variants, we were able to:

  1. Rebrand our journal and podcast (see the new logos here);
  2. Reinvigorate our online presence (including creating a new Instagram account);
  3. Co-host a journal club with the School of Public Health (SPH) Health Equity Work Group
  4. Co-sponsor a conversation with MN Supreme Court Justice Paul Thissen with the SPH Student Senate
  5. Create and launch an online outreach video;
  6. Highlight unique professional and student health perspectives on our podcast, Perspectives; and
  7. Experiment with a novel themed issue on health and housing.

The impact of these initiatives can be seen in our evaluation metrics below:

  • Garnered listeners from across 15 countries;
  • Increased the magnitude and representation of first-time author submissions to our journal;
  • Expanded our pool of submissions to include 11 institutions and schools;
  • Generated hundreds of followers to our newly created Instagram account, our Twitter and Facebook accounts.

To say that we achieved our goal of creating a more robust and engaging platform for the Public Health Review is an understatement. We would not be here celebrating these accolades without the camaraderie of our board, the collaborations with partners within, across, and external to our university, and our shared collective continuity and momentum to realize the PHR mission. I want to thank everyone who has submitted articles to PHR and stories to Perspectives, our hardworking, talented, and efficient editorial team (Annie Youngblood, Chao Yang, Delaine Anderson, Drew Gerber, Emilija Motivans, Faiza Hassan, Grant Zastoupil, Maddie Turbes, Marco Morales, Tara Cantwell), our publisher at UMN Libraries (Emma Molls), and our partners at the School of Public Health (Student Senate, Health Equity Work Group) for a wonderful year of many accomplishments.

In closing, I want to introduce the incoming editorial team. It is with great pleasure that Marco Morales (our 2021 Production Editor) will be continuing his tenure on PHR and taking the helm as the 2022 Executive Editor. He will be supported by an equally talented team of ten editors: Mary Anne Powell (Managing Editor); Shantanu Mallick and Ilyana Hohenkirk (Section Editors); Brooke Offenhauser & Abby Wenninger (Copy Editors); Yashwanth Komerelli (Production Editor); Sophia Zielke & Haley Lipo Zovic (Podcast Editors); Hawking Ren (Evaluation Editor); and Katie Powell (Marketing Editor). From the rest of the outgoing board, we wish the incoming board tremendous success on more continued celebrations and collaborations.



Serena Xiong

2021 Executive Editor, Public Health Review

Editor Introduction