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August 20, 2020

Call for Papers on Prevention and the Effects of Systemic Racism in Health

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
  • 2Editor, JAMA Network Open
  • 3Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
  • 4Deputy Editor, JAMA Network Open
JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(8):e2016825. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.16825

Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, “is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”1 It is a simple concept but embodies the effects of multiple forces acting from before conception to the end of life. Although massive local and global disparities in health have been recognized for decades, there is now an emerging consensus that systemic racism, defined as a “system of structures, policies, practices, and norms that construct opportunities and assigns values based on one’s phenotype” is one of the strongest forces.2(p9) In JAMA Network Open, we have published many articles evaluating health outcomes associated with systemic racism, including neighborhood-based social determinants of health associated with premature mortality,3 discrimination in health care, especially among African American individuals,4 racial bias of clinicians toward African American women during allocation of advanced heart therapies,5 disparity in access to trauma centers for Black communities,6 fear generated by electoral politics on premature births among Latina women,7 fewer positive effects on health with higher parental education among Hispanic youths,8 and the projected estimates of African American medical graduates of closed historically Black medical schools.9

The differential rates of infection and death from the COVID-19 pandemic have starkly highlighted the pervasiveness of systemic racism and its myriad effects on people of color and those who are economically and socially disadvantaged.10-12 Emblematic of these concerns has been the heightened visibility of the use of excessive force by police on minority populations, which has sparked protests in the US and elsewhere around the world. Addressing these long-standing inequities requires action in many elements of society including the entire health care system encompassing the financing and delivery of health care services, recruitment and training of health professionals, and medical research. Desperately needed is a better understanding of how systemic racism and other social determinants affect health and the interventions that can lower risks and improve outcomes.

JAMA Network Open is therefore issuing a call for papers that contribute to the evidence base on prevention and the effects of systemic racism on health and health care. We are interested in papers that apply rigorous science to examine who is affected, the mechanisms of how racism translates into poor health and health care, and how racism and its effects can be addressed at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of prevention. Studies that use rigorous science, including randomized and nonrandomized clinical trials that assess interventions, observational studies, and systematic reviews and meta-analyses are needed to make progress in this area. Progress must also include changes in health care systems, from the national and local policies that govern the health care sector, to the selection and education of health care professionals, to financing that eliminates restrictions on access, to the provision of high quality health care as defined by the US National Academy of Medicine—“care that is safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable.”13(pp5-6) Interested authors should consult our Instructions for Authors14 on the study designs and reporting requirements for articles suitable for JAMA Network Open. Please note that we do not publish narrative reviews, case reports, or unsolicited opinion pieces.

All favorable research manuscripts undergo peer review, including statistical review. All articles accepted for publication will be eligible to have accompanying Invited Commentaries published by experts in the field and will be published quickly. In addition, all articles will be featured on the JAMA Network Open and JAMA Network journals’ websites. All JAMA Network Open articles are indexed in PubMed, Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus, and other databases and are included in Apple News. The journal has broad reach through press releases and coverage by major news media and social media. Please see the journal’s Instructions for Authors for additional information on manuscript preparation and submission.8 Manuscripts should be submitted by January 1, 2021, for timely consideration.

This call for papers accompanies the editorial by Ogedegbe,15 which lays out the role and responsibility of medical journals in addressing racism. JAMA Network Open is committed to publishing rigorous science that will make a difference and progress in all countries of the world toward what the World Health Organization meant in its definition of health more than 7 decades ago.

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Article Information

Published: August 20, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.16825

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License. © 2020 Rivara FP et al. JAMA Network Open.

Corresponding Author: Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, 325 Ninth Ave, PO Box 359960, Seattle, WA 98104 (

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

World Health Organization. Preamble to the Constitution of WHO as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19 June - 22 July 1946. Accessed July 12, 2020.
Jones  CP.  Confronting institutionalized racism.   Phylon. 2002;50(1):7-22. doi:10.2307/4149999 Google ScholarCrossref
Kolak  M, Bhatt  J, Park  YH, Padrón  NA, Molefe  A.  Quantification of Neighborhood-Level Social Determinants of Health in the Continental United States.   JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(1):e1919928. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.19928 PubMedGoogle Scholar
Schulson  LB, Paasche-Orlow  MK, Xuan  Z, Fernandez  A.  Changes in Perceptions of Discrimination in Health Care in California, 2003 to 2017.   JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(7):e196665. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.6665 PubMedGoogle Scholar
Breathett  K, Yee  E, Pool  N,  et al.  Association of gender and race with allocation of advanced heart failure therapies.   JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(7):e2011044. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.11044PubMedGoogle Scholar
Tung  EL, Hampton  DA, Kolak  M, Rogers  SO, Yang  JP, Peek  ME.  Race/Ethnicity and Geographic Access to Urban Trauma Care.   JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(3):e190138. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.0138 PubMedGoogle Scholar
Gemmill  A, Catalano  R, Casey  JA,  et al.  Association of preterm births among US Latina women with the 2016 presidential election.   JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(7):e197084. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.7084 PubMedGoogle Scholar
Assari  S, Caldwell  CH, Bazargan  M.  Association between parental educational attainment and youth outcomes and role of race/ethnicity.   JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(11):e1916018. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.16018 PubMedGoogle Scholar
Campbell  KM, Corral  I, lnfante Linares  JL, Tumin  D.  Projected estimates of African American medical graduates of closed historically Black medical schools.   JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(8):e2015220. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.15220Google Scholar
Webb Hooper  M, Nápoles  AM, Pérez-Stable  EJ.  COVID-19 and racial/ethnic disparities.   JAMA. 2020;323(24):2466-2467. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.8598 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Wadhera  RK, Wadhera  P, Gaba  P,  et al.  Variation in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths across New York City boroughs.   JAMA. 2020;323(21):2192-2195. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.7197 PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Carrol  A. Health disparities among Black persons in the US and addressing racism in the health care system. JAMA Health Forum. Published online June 18, 2020. Accessed June 18, 2020.
Institute of Medicine (IOM).  Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century. National Academy Press; 2001.
JAMA Network Open. Instructions for Authors. Accessed July 12, 2020.
Ogedegbe  G.  Responsibility of medical journals in addressing racism in health care.   JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(8):e2016531. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.16531Google Scholar
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    1 Comment for this article
    Hongwei Chen, M.D., MPH. | Faculty of Medicine, Macau University of Science and Technology
    Great article. Congratulations on the high professionalism!