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Editor's Comment
January 20, 2021

JAMA Health Forum Becomes JAMA Network’s Newest Specialty Journal

Author Affiliations
  • 1Editor, JAMA Health Forum
  • 2Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 3Deputy Editor, JAMA Health Forum
  • 4Department of Health Policy, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee
JAMA Health Forum. 2021;2(1):e210042. doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2021.0042

One year ago, on January 23, 2020, JAMA Health Forum launched as a new online channel for health policy commentaries and news.1,2 These commentaries have included Insights from a wide range of authors and weekly invited JAMA Forum contributions from a select group of health policy experts. The channel has also curated and featured original research studies related to health policy, health care systems, and public health from across the JAMA Network, along with Editor’s Comments on some of the most novel and important of these studies. In addition, timely news summaries of major reports released by government and nongovernmental agencies, foundations, and other policy-focused organizations have been published each week. The 245 posts published in 2020 have been viewed approximately 1.6 million times, providing key insights into a range of health policy topics including myriad implications of the COVID-19 pandemic,3 the mental health of frontline health workers, racial disparities and health equity, the fiscal solvency of Medicare, the safety of returning children to school during the pandemic, and health policy during the US presidential election campaign.

JAMA Health Forum is now poised to become a peer-reviewed, open-access, online journal focused on health policy.4 Prospective authors can now submit original research manuscripts and more concise research letters. Detailed Instructions for Authors for preparing and submitting manuscripts are posted on the JAMA Health Forum website. For authors who are accustomed to submitting research manuscripts to JAMA or the JAMA Network specialty journals, the instructions and manuscript submission process for JAMA Health Forum will be familiar, as will the rigorous process of editorial and peer review.

Beginning this month, we are very pleased to welcome Julie M. Donohue, PhD, and Said Ibrahim, MD, MPH, MBA, as Associate Editors and Alan M. Zaslavsky, PhD, as the Statistical Editor on the JAMA Health Forum editorial team. Dr Donohue is Professor and Chair of Health Policy and Management at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr Ibrahim is Professor of Population Health Sciences, Chief of the Division of Healthcare Delivery Science and Innovation, and Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr Zaslavsky is the Daniel C. Tosteson Professor of Health Care Policy (Statistics) at Harvard Medical School. Together, the 5 of us will oversee the editorial decisions and strategic direction of the new journal. We welcome Eva Scalzo, MA, as the journal’s Editorial Manager, who brings nearly 2 decades of journal management experience to this position.

As JAMA Health Forum transforms from a health policy channel to a peer-reviewed journal, we will continue publishing Insights commentaries on the channel over the next few months. Beginning with the first issue of the journal this spring, subsequent commentaries will be published as Viewpoints – a standard category for JAMA Network journals. All previous Insights will be available on the journal website. The journal will also continue to feature weekly “In the News” articles on timely developments in health policy by Consulting Editor, Joan Stephenson, PhD.

The JAMA Forum section of invited commentaries by health policy experts will continue when JAMA Health Forum becomes a journal. We welcome 8 esteemed new authors to this section in 2021, including Katherine Baicker, PhD (who published her first contribution last week); Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, PhD, MD, MAS; Lisa Cooper, MD, MPH; Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH; Sherry Glied, PhD; Scott Gottlieb, MD; Michelle Mello, JD, PhD; and Joan Teno, MD, MS. They will join continuing contributors: Stuart M. Butler, PhD; Dave A. Chokshi, MD, MSc; David Cutler, PhD; Lawrence O. Gostin, JD; Larry Levitt, MPP; Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN; Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD; Benjamin D. Sommers, MD, PhD; and Gail Wilensky, PhD. We also thank the distinguished colleagues who have completed their service—some since 2012—as JAMA Forum contributors, including Eli Y. Adashi, MD, MS; Andrew B. Bindman, MD; Aaron E. Carroll, MD, MS; Austin B. Frakt, PhD; Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH; Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH; and Andy Slavitt, MBA.

Looking back on a tumultuous year that included a devastating global pandemic, a contentious US presidential election, and a renewed struggle for racial justice, we are heartened by the response of authors and readers to JAMA Health Forum. We are also hopeful about the role the journal will play in the future, as we seek to bring new ideas, evidence, and expertise to bear on critical health policy challenges. During 2020, JAMA Health Forum received 446 submissions of Insights manuscripts and accepted 141 (31.6%) of these submissions. The median time from receipt to decision was 14.0 days for accepted manuscripts (typically with 1 revision) and 1.9 days for rejected manuscripts. For accepted manuscripts, the median time from receipt to publication was 31.0 days. We also published 48 invited JAMA Forum commentaries, 48 In the News articles, and 22 Editor’s Comments. Many of these posts have received ample attention in social media, with 27 having an Altmetric score (a measure of news and social media activity) ranging from 101 to 994.

Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic was the focus of the majority of articles published in JAMA Health Forum since last March.3 Among the 10 most viewed articles published during 2020, 9 focused on key policy aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 1 assessed the health policies of the US presidential candidates. The 3 most viewed articles in 2020 addressed mask exemptions during COVID-19,5 hospital planning for the first surge of patients with COVID-19,6 and the effects of COVID-19 on the US economy.7

As stated in the new journal’s mission statement, JAMA Health Forum will publish “original research, evidence-based reports, and opinion about national and global health policy; innovative approaches to health care delivery; and health care economics, access, quality, safety, equity, and reform.” We look forward to bringing this content to life with the editors, reviewers, authors, and readers of JAMA Health Forum—the newest peer-reviewed specialty journal in the JAMA Network.

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Article Information

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License. © 2021 Ayanian JZ et al. JAMA Health Forum.

Corresponding Author: John Z. Ayanian, MD, MPP, Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, 2800 Plymouth Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (jamahealthforum@jamanetwork.org).

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

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