Special Issue on Prevention Research for Inclusivity in People, Methods, and Outcomes
AJPM Focus envisions a world where preventive medicine and public health teaching, research, and practice are grounded in the principle of inclusivity in people, methods, and outcomes. The Oxford dictionary defines inclusivity as “the fact or quality of being inclusive, especially the practice or policy of not excluding any person on the grounds of race, gender, religion, age, disability, etc”. This journal embraces an expanded definition of inclusivity to also welcome diverse study methods and a variety of outcomes beyond those traditionally considered in the work of prevention. Unfortunately, much remains to be done to align prevention with this principle. This special issue presents cutting-edge prevention research evidence that reflects inclusivity across the domains of people, methods, and outcomes. In line with the journal’s scope, this issue covers the wide range of fields and subfields on the global spectrum of public health and preventive medicine research, education, and practice.
- COVID-19 has led to multiple deaths and disruptions in health, economic security, and well-being worldwide. While youth may be at lower risk,1 they are not immune from its effects. Even when not infected, youth experience stressors including school disruptions, home confinement, grief, and uncertainty regarding safety and security.2,3 Youth report worry related to COVID-194 depression, and substance use coping, with those reporting depressive symptoms more likely to engage in substance-related coping.
- Since 2014, the possibility of hepatitis C (HCV) elimination emerged as a result of safe and effective oral curative treatment.1 Community-based rapid screening among populations at risk for HCV helped to characterize the need for innovative public health approaches and policy changes through reported implementation challenges and successful screening which more accurately defined the need for HCV curative treatment. While some U.S. states strengthened systems and policies to eliminate HCV in their communities,2 differences in state health policy environments continue to hamper national efforts for eliminating HCV.
- Nearly 14% of adults smoke cigarettes in the U.S.,1 but certain population subgroups smoke at disproportionately higher rates. For example, males, American Indian and Alaskan Native individuals (AI/ANs), individuals of lower SES, and individuals who identify as sexual and gender minority (SGM) report higher cigarette usage than females, non-Hispanic White individuals, individuals of higher SES, and individuals who do not identify as SGM, respectively.1 An abundance of tobacco-related disparities persist, especially for communities that have been historically marginalized in the U.S.
- Vaccine-preventable diseases cause thousands of hospitalizations and deaths in the US every year.1-3 Reducing vaccine-preventable diseases and other disparities in preventive health care is a major goal of Healthy People 2030.4 However, racial and ethnic minorities have lower vaccination rates than White Americans.5 Although some vaccine-preventable diseases such as hepatitis B disproportionately impact Asian Americans, vaccination rates in the United States among Asian Americans are low.1,6,7
- School-based interventions to promote healthy eating choices and other health behaviors have been implemented across the U.S., but too few have been rigorously evaluated for their efficacy,1–3 particularly in American Indian communities.4,5 National guidelines define and promote healthy eating practices,6 yet the gap between guidelines and behavior change in the population remains large. Just as important as the rigorously derived scientific evidence that dietary choices impact health, rigorous evaluations of interventions are needed so that guidelines can be put into practice.
- Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) or implants are considered some of the most innovative reproductive health technologies of contemporary medicine.1 Public health and medical professionals endorse LARC as a means of preventing unintended pregnancy because of its high effectiveness and low rate of human error.2,3 Unintended pregnancy rates across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups are considered a persistent clinical and public health problem because of the association of unintended pregnancy with adverse maternal and infant health, financial outcomes, and social outcomes (e.g., decreased educational attainment).
- Although weight gain is a natural occurrence in pregnancy, a higher postpartum weight may be related to gestational weight gain, which has health implications, including cardiometabolic disease.1 Postpartum weight retention (PWR) is linked to both prepregnancy weight and gestational weight gain, a modifiable risk factor for pregnancy complications and future cardiovascular disease.1,2 Evidence indicates that 48% of pregnant women gain more weight than recommended by the National Academy of Medicine guidelines,3 and most women retain above 5 kg by 1 year after delivery,4,5 altering the trajectory of lifetime weight gain and incidence of cardiovascular disease.