Letter from the Editor
Interest in public health stretches back to ancient civilizations and their concerns with clean water, sanitation, housing, and disease control. Over centuries, societies further refined their efforts to maintain healthy populations with medical care, attention to environmental influences, urbanization, better working conditions, containing epidemics, and keeping of records of mortality. In the 19th century, with the development of industrialization and bacteriology, modern public health emerged. Today’s public health concerns—addressing global epidemics, poverty and inequity, climate change, health in all policies, and social factors in health and illness—evolved from ancient ones.
In response to this worldwide evolution in public health, institutions of all kinds have risen—private, governmental, nongovernmental, international, and academic—not only to carry on the practice of public health, but also to conduct the necessary and ongoing research that is required for such a diverse area of practice. Public health consists not only of multiple disciplines of research, but also varies considerably in approaches across the globe. Some countries have strong academic and governmental organizations dedicated to public health, while others struggle to carry out the needed public health actions and research.
Because the field of public health is so diverse and multi-disciplinary, the relevant research environments are many, ranging from broad areas, such as health promotion, to highly technical bench sciences. Further, the complexity of many public health fields often calls for researchers to combine disparate areas of academic and disciplinary backgrounds. This is a significant challenge for researchers in the field of public health.
The ORE in Global Public Health is designed, in part, to assist the researcher in public health to understand the dimensions of the diversity of the field and at the same time provide a state of the art analysis of what is demanded of each topic area. To help carry out this formidable task we are working with an editorial and advisory board with expertise in a variety of subjects to plan and review the content of the ORE. We aim to map the field broadly with long-form overview articles that probe deeply. Over time, we will address both foundational and cutting-edge topics across the major disciplines with an eye towards informing research at all levels. The Oxford Research Encyclopedias will be a constantly growing resource and articles will be updated as needed.
It is our goal that experts and emerging experts, who work in the sciences and the varied fields of public health, will use and benefit from the articles presented. In particular students, future researchers, and those with serious interest in public health will find value in the ORE.
David V. McQueen
Editor in Chief