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Call for Papers for HSR Theme Issue: Global Health Systems

Submission deadline: November 3, 2010
Sponsored by Yale University

Health Services Research (HSR) and Yale University are partnering to publish a Theme Issue on Global Health, with a specific focus on global health systems.

Global health - the study of improving human health and achieving equity in health worldwide - has attracted the attention of key stakeholders at multiple levels including policy-makers and politicians, international corporations, and international non-governmental agencies. Likewise, research, policies and financial resources have been increasingly focused on global health, most notably over the past decade.  For example, in 2001, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) provided $7.2 billion in funding related to global health.  By 2007, OECD funding had nearly quadrupled to $22.1 billion.  Yet as funding has grown, so has a consensus that we lack solid evidence about the effectiveness of efforts supported by such funding, particularly with regard to improvements in and impacts on health systems.

The World Health Organization (2000) broadly defined health systems as not only providing services, but also organizing human and physical resources, generating needed funds, and acting as stewards over the "resources, powers, and expectations entrusted to them." Global health systems, which need to recognize and embrace the health needs and services and monetary flow that transcend national boundaries, are critical to the long-term success and sustainability of any global health efforts.  As more attention and funding are directed towards global health issues, it is both appropriate and necessary that attention also be paid to creating a body of evidence to guide efforts to strengthen health systems needed to implement efforts to promote global health.

For this Theme Issue, we are soliciting studies, evaluations, policy analyses and simulations that use rigorous and scientific research methods to assess the impact of systems to improve global health, including delivery, financing, and regulatory systems. 

We define global health broadly as an area of research and practice that focuses on improving human health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide, not just those in developing countries or economies.  Global health emphasizes transnational issues, determinants, and solutions to human health problems. The study and practice of global health involves many disciplines and benefits from interdisciplinary collaboration. We therefore encourage work from a variety of fields including economics, organizational behavior and theory, political science, anthropology, sociology, history of science, and others. Global refers to the scope and approach to the problems, not their location (Koplan, 2009). 

Accordingly, we are interested in papers pertaining to low-income, middle-income, and high-income settings and to their interconnectedness as appropriate. All papers must pertain to health services and health systems and must report the results of original research, whether addressing a single country or several.  Papers that focus only on medical or public health discoveries and that do not involve health services or health systems will not be accepted for publication. Similarly, papers that are primarily editorial or opinion-based will not be considered. 

Illustrative examples of topics include but are not limited to:

  • Impact of new financing reforms internationally
  • Distribution and impact of alternative methods for funding health care
  • Improving quality of care in low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries
  • Engaging community efforts in health and their impact on community economic wealth
  • Regulatory interventions and their influence on health disparities in growing economies
  • Transnational experiments in health promotion
  • Valuing health: new methods for assessing impact
  • Models for financing health that improve access or ensure value for services

The deadline for initial submission of manuscripts is November 3 at 5pm PST.  Criteria for selection of manuscripts include: (1) quality, rigor and originality, (2) significance and usefulness for informing global health systems design; (3) and clarity of writing and presentation.  All manuscripts must follow the "Instructions for Authors" listed at: http://www.hsr.org/hsr/information/authors/instrucauthors.jsp.

Manuscripts submitted for the Theme Issue will first undergo the same HSR peer review process as all regular manuscripts. However, due to the timeline for publishing the Theme Issue, HSR will monitor the progress of manuscripts through the review process and thereby will try to shorten the overall review process; likewise, authors should expect to be especially timely in returning revisions. All accepted articles will be published electronically within a few weeks of acceptance using Blackwell-Wiley's Early View process. Articles published through Early View are fully published, appear in PubMed, and can be cited. Accepted articles submitted for the Theme Issue will then undergo an additional selection process for inclusion in the printed Theme Issue. Approximately 8 to 10 articles will be selected, based on the most original and significant work addressing the theme.  Accepted manuscripts that are not selected for the Theme Issue will be automatically scheduled for print publication in a regular issue. The print publication date for the Theme Issue will be December 2011.


Koplan, JP, TC Bond, MH Merson, KS Reddy, MH Rodriguez, NK Sewankambo, and JN Wasserheit. "Towards a Common Definition of Global Health." Lancet 2009; 373: 1993-1995.

World Health Organization. Health Systems: Improving Performance. Geneva: The World Health Organization, 2000.

Key dates for authors:

November 3, 2010 at 5pm PST: Submission deadline of manuscripts for the Theme Issue.

August 15, 2011: Notification of assignment of accepted papers to the Theme Issue or Regular Issue.

December 2011: Print Publication Date for Theme Issue.
For questions, please email Meighan Schreiber at mschreiber@aha.org.

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