Special Issue Call for Abstracts: Health Care Equity

Special Issue: Health Care Equity

Sponsored by: Catholic Health Association of the United States

Submission deadline: October 15, 2021

Health Services Research (HSR) is planning a special issue with the Catholic Health Association of the United States on the theme of health care equity, for publication in December 2022. We expect to publish 10-15 peer-reviewed manuscripts along with invited commentaries. The special issue will be edited by Alexander Ortega, PhD, with guest editors Nate Hibner, PhD, Brian Kane, PhD, and Tanjala Purnell, PhD.

The disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on minoritized communities and the racial justice protests of 2020 have turned the spotlight on health care inequities and their causes and elimination. The public and policymakers are demanding that all institutions in our society respond to these injustices.

One of the ways health care leaders and organizations are responding to this call to action is by undertaking efforts to examine and change how their organizations deliver care, support their clinicians and workforce, run their operations, and partner with their communities – with the goal of eliminating systemic racism, discrimination, biases, and inequities. Inequities are not a new issue in health care or in health status and outcomes. In 2003, the Institute of Medicine published “Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care” which laid out inequities in care and made recommendations to address them. However, almost 20 years later, inequities persist. What are the barriers and facilitators necessary for change and what is working and should be translated to practice and policy?

The goal of this special issue is to feature studies that are not merely descriptive but instead focus on new methods, measures, practices, policies, theories, observations, or insights that will allow the field to better understand the causes, consequences, and solutions to eliminating health care inequities.

The HSR special issue will attempt to bring forth evidence reflecting responses to this challenge. With a wide lens on the many inequities that exist (racial/ethnic, insurance status, socioeconomic, age, rural/urban, LGBTQ, disability, immigrant, etc.), we invite abstracts that highlight successes and barriers towards understanding and achieving health care equity. Observational studies, qualitative studies, natural experiments, interventions, evaluations, and systematic reviews are welcome. We invite researchers across many disciplines, across academia, professional societies, and health care institutions. The editors will favor articles that are action oriented, with evidence that will inform policies and practices to eliminate health care inequities.

Examples of topic areas of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Health care organization and practice (e.g., DEI programs, board diversity, health care implementation)
  • Patient experiences and outcomes (e.g., discrimination, patient-centered care, racism, trust)
  • Community engagement and community-level interventions (e.g. community partnerships and involvement, use of community data, screening/referral programs)
  • Multisectoral (e.g. health care organizations and public health) and/or multilevel (e.g., patients and providers) health care interventions
  • New methods, measures, approaches, and data innovations
  • Workforce development, recruitment, retention, and training
  • Health care policy interventions and evaluations (e.g., insurance, laws, mandates, programs)

The deadline for initial submission of abstracts is October 15, 2021. Abstracts may not exceed 300 words and must otherwise be formatted as indicated in the HSR “Instructions for Authors.” These abstracts will be evaluated by a multidisciplinary and interprofessional review panel, which will prioritize the best abstracts to receive invitations to submit full manuscripts. The evaluation criteria will include: (1) quality, rigor and originality; (2) relevance to the special issue theme, articulated above; and (3) clarity of writing and presentation.

Invited manuscripts submitted for the Special Issue will first undergo the same HSR peer review process as all regular manuscripts. However, due to the timeline for publishing the issue, HSR will monitor the progress of manuscripts through the review process and try to shorten the overall process; likewise, authors should expect to be especially prompt in returning revisions. Accepted articles will be published online ahead of the print edition. Accepted manuscripts that are not selected for the Special Issue will be automatically scheduled for print publication in a regular issue.

The print publication date for the Special Issue will be December 2022.

If you would like to submit your abstract for consideration, please email your abstract and corresponding author contact information to the editorial office at hsr@aha.org. Include “Special Issue Health Care Equity” in the subject line.

Key dates for authors:

  • October 15, 2021: Submission deadline for abstracts
  • November 15, 2021: Notification of manuscript invitation
  • January 31, 2022: Submission deadline of invited manuscripts
  • September 15, 2022: Final notification of accepted manuscripts
  • December 2022: Print publication date

For questions, please email Carolyn deCourt at hsr@aha.org.