To honor some of health promotion’s best scientists and, in particular, to recognize those who bring outstanding humanity to their field of inquiry and bigheartedness to their writing, the American Journal of Health Promotion (AJHP) is pleased to announce our Papers of the Year from 2019. Reflecting on the manuscripts from our 2019 winners below, a few critical issues and trends surface. As much as health education interventions are a staple of AJHP submissions, the question of how organizational or community health policies impact health practices was a recurrent hypothesis that researchers put to the test in 2019. And while studying the effectiveness of a variety of behavior change initiatives is also a mainstay of AJHP, the reach of interventions and factors that could improve reach has also been of growing interest. In each of these domains, the voice of the consumer of health promotion initiatives is, gladly, increasingly investigated as a key variable in improving the reach and effectiveness of programs and policies.

We invite you to re-read the papers featured below because they impressed our editors as studies that are advancing our Albert Einstein said: “To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.” Our appreciation goes out to these authors for bringing this journal bold ideas and taking risks by testing unique and timely research questions.

Papers of the Year Award Criteria

The award criteria our journal editors considered were applied to both the study and the paper such that the:

  1. Study addresses a topic of timely importance in health promotion.
  2. Research question is clearly stated and the methodologies used are well executed.
  3. Paper is often cited and/or downloaded.
  4. Study findings offer a unique contribution to the literature.
  5. Paper is well-written and enjoyable to read.
     

The “Best of 2019 List” of Health Promotion Researchers (Volume 33)

Editor in Chief Paper of the Year for 2019

Results of the Workplace Health in America Survey
Laura A. Linnan, ScD, Laurie Cluff, PhD, Jason E. Lang, MPH, MS, Michael Penne, MPH, Maija S. Leff, MPH.

Editor in Chief Review Article of the Year for 2019

Increasing Access to Physical Activity within Low Income and Diverse Communities: A Systematic Review
Stasi, DrPH, MPH, J. Spengler, JD, PhD, J. Maddock, PhD, FAAHB, L. McKyer, PhD, MPH, H. Clark, DrPH, MSPH.

Michael P O’Donnell Paper of the Year for 2019

Employee Adherence to a Tobacco-Free Executive Order in Kentucky
Melinda J. Ickes, PhD, Amanda Wiggins, PhD, Mary Kay Rayens, PhD, Jean Edwards, PhD, RN, Ellen J. Hahn, PhD, RN, FAAN.

Dorothy Nyswander Paper of the Year for 2019

Engaging with the Community to Promote Physical Activity in Urban Neighborhoods
Janet A. Deatrick, PhD, RN, FAAN, Heather Klusaritz, PhD, Rahshida Atkins, PhD, Ansley Bolick, BA, MPH, Cory Bowman, BA, Juan Lado, MD, Krista Schroeder, PhD, RN, CCRN, Terri H. Lipman, PhD, CRNP, FAAN.

Editors’ Picks Papers of the Year for 2019 (Volume 33)

Loneliness in the United States: A 2018 National Panel Survey of Demographic, Structural, Cognitive, and Behavioral Characteristics
Liana DesHarnais Bruce, PhD, MSPH, Joshua S. Wu, PhD, MA, Stuart L. Lustig, MD, Daniel W. Russell, PhD, Douglas A. Nemecek, MD, MBA.

Measuring Participation in Employer-Sponsored Health and Well-Being Programs: A Participation Index and Its Association With Health Risk Change
Erin L. D. Seaverson, MPH, Stefan B. Gingerich, MS, David J. Mangen, PhD, David R. Anderson, PhD.

Reach and Adoption of a Randomized Weight Loss Maintenance Trial in Rural African Americans of Faith: The WORD (Wholeness, Oneness, Righteousness, Deliverance)
Karen H. Kim Yeary, PhD, Page C. Moore, PhD, C. Heath Gauss, MS, Carol Cornell, PhD, T. Elaine Prewitt, DrPH, Samjhana Shakya, MPH, Jerome Turner, MDiv, Catherine Scarbrough, BS, Gwenndolyn Porter, MS, Paul A. Estabrooks, PhD.

The Stock Performance of American Companies Investing in a Culture of Health
Ron Z. Goetzel, PhD, Raymond Fabius, MD, Enid Chung Roemer, PhD, Karen B. Kent, MPH, Jeffrey Berko, MPH, Michael A. Head, MS, Rachel MosherHenke, PhD.

Enrollment Strategies, Barriers to Participation, and Reach of a Workplace Intervention Targeting Sedentary Behavior
Sarah L. Mullane, PhD, Sarah A. Rydell, MS, Miranda L. Larouche, MS, Meynard John L. Toledo, MS, Linda H. Feltes, MS, Brenna Vuong, MPH, Noe C. Crespo, PhD, Glenn A. Gaesser, PhD, Paul A. Estabrooks, PhD, Mark A. Pereira, PhD, Matthew P. Buman, PhD.

Current Issues and Growing Trends in Health Promotion

Reviewing the titles of these award winners shows that health promotion researchers are offering ever more sophisticated insights into social forces that shape behaviors, policies that change cultures and interventions that evoke positive health and well-being practices. This year’s winners addressed timely and vital issues relating to improving physical activity, mental and emotional health, community and organizational influences on well-being and the role of psychological and emotional resiliency. Ours is a field marked by growing ambitions as is evidenced by the movement from wellness to well-being. When I hear someone name well-being as their primary focus, I routinely ask how they define well-being. They generally respond that well-being means life satisfaction, greater happiness, better mental and emotional health or improved financial well-being. Notwithstanding an observation that the genesis of the wellness term has always included these variables, it seems the growing interest in well-being constructs casts health as a means to an end. If so, I’d also suggest that well-being is also beholden to community health and, in particular, social determinants of health. The largest special issue for AJHP over the past decade, meaning the most articles and greatest number of total pages in the issue, was “The Parity in Health Promotion” issue. That we are publishing more articles relating to health disparities and more studies that address social determinants of health reflects on both the priorities of researchers in the nation as well as on the values and preferences of AJHP’s editorial team.

When you read these award-winning author’s discussion sections you will see how they applied what they learned to continuous improvement for our discipline, to enlarging our field’s reach and to producing a more equitable world. Stephen Hawking said that “science is not only a disciple of reason but, also, one of romance and passion.” These leaders show us how fastidious study methods and accessible scientific writing can be intentionally aligned with compassionate advocacy for health and well-being for all. Congratulations to these first authors and co-authors. We dedicate our selection and publishing of these “best papers” to all health promotion scientists who are addressing health disparities and working to achieve equity in workplaces, families and communities.

Paul E. Terry, Ph.D., Editor in Chief, the American Journal of Health Promotion, Senior Fellow, The Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO).

 

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