Meet Our Journal: Health Advocacy Research Now Has a Home

May 16, 2024

Advocacy is Essential to Health

Research has produced new knowledge to improve the health of children. Millions of articles have been published in thousands of research journals that have increased our understanding of what are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, the risk and protective factors of many diseases and health conditions, and what interventions are most effective in curing disease and promoting health.

Knowledge alone is not sufficient to improve the health and well-being of youth, especially those who have been marginalized. Multilevel, inequitable systems, often rooted in historical and structural racism, are not easily rectified.

“System changing action,” or advocacy, is also needed to improve the health of children.

Advocacy is a defining element of the field of Pediatrics. Dr. Abraham Jacobi, recognized as the founder of this specialty in the early 1900’s, noted “…. (i)t is not enough, however, to work at an individual bedside in a hospital. In the near or dim future, the pediatrician is to sit in and control school boards, health departments, and legislatures.”

Advocacy as a scholarly activity has historically been marginalized in many academic settings. In recent years, however, there has been increasing recognition of advocacy scholarship. Notably, the Academic Pediatric Association association recently established the Health Policy Scholars Program (a 3-year faculty development program designed to educate early and mid-career APA members on a scholarly approach to health policy and advocacy) and the American Board of Pediatrics recently revised MOC Part IV requirements to allow pediatricians to receive credit for scholarly community advocacy projects.

Research articles are published to document findings and to share information so others may build upon the authors’ results or use the new knowledge to improve the health of patients. This publication step is also crucial for advocacy scholarship.

The Journal of Health Advocacy

The Journal of Health Advocacy (JHA) is an open access, on-line, peer-reviewed journal which will publish articles that describe “system changing action” efforts to improve the health of youth. Traditional research journals appropriately focus on the rigor of the paper’s methods, however articles that describe efforts to change community or policy level factors cannot always find a home in this framework because often the methods used in advocacy are different.

Different does not mean less worthy to share.

The mission of the Journal of Health Advocacy “is to have a sustained impact on achieving a just, equitable and healthy society by disseminating health advocacy activities, empowering communities, recognizing and promoting system changing action, and nurturing connections for collaboration.” A variety of article types and media formats will be considered. Articles will be published “just in time” and may be batched into themes and re-issued at a later date. Detailed instructions for authors can be found at

Your health advocacy research now has a home.

Burke, EC. Abraham Jacobi, MD: The Man and His Legacy. Pediatrics. (1998) 101 (2): 309–312.
Academic Pediatric Association Health, Policy Scholars Program. Accessed April 24, 2024.
Pediatric Community Health Initiative. Accessed April 24, 2024.