BACKGROUND: Worldwide, the US accounts for a large proportion of journals related to public health. Although the American Public Health Association (APHA) includes 54 affiliated regional and state associations, little is known about their capacity to support public health scholarship. The aim of this study is to assess barriers and facilitators to operation of state journals for the dissemination of local public health research and practices.
METHODS: A mixed methods approach will be used to complete the 12-month study. Affiliate websites will be accessed through the APHA membership portal to evaluate organizational infrastructure and ascertain the presence/absence of a journal. The leader of each affiliate will be contacted via email containing a link to a 12-question on-line survey to collect his/her perceptions of scholarly journals and the publication of local health data. To determine barriers and facilitators to publication of local public health findings, 30-minute semi-structured telephone interviews will focus on the infrastructure of the association, perceptions of the leader about the journal (if in place), and its operation.
ANTICIPATED RESULTS: We anticipate that 54 affiliate websites will be reviewed to complete the extraction checklist, that 74% of affiliate leaders will respond to the survey, and that 11 semi-structured interviews will be conducted. A limited number of state/regional public health associations will operate journals and a small percentage of those without journals may express an interest in implementing them. Barriers to operation of journals may include lack of resources (i.e., personnel, funding), and low prioritization of publication of state and local public health findings. Facilitators may include strong affiliate-academic relationships, affiliate leadership with experience in publications, and affiliate relationships with state and local departments of health.
CONCLUSIONS: The research proposed in this protocol may stimulate other state public health associations and other academic public health programs to follow suit; it would not be the first time that an observational research study served as an intervention.
- Journal Article