Building new knowledge: Special edition of Global Health Action celebrates Wits School of Public Health

29 January 2013

Johannesburg: The international peer-reviewed journal, Global Health Action, has put the Wits School of Public Health and the Centre forHealth Policyin the global public health spotlightby launching a special edition to commemorate the School and its new building which opened on 24 January 2013. Six papers were authored by CHP staff.

The special edition features 23 articles by staff and students, of which 15 (63%) were by postgraduate students or junior academics. Six papers are by first-time authors, all of whom are black and five are women. This highlights the supplement’s theme ‘Building new knowledge’ to nurture and develop the next generation of African scholars, a critical human resource challenge in sub-Saharan Africa.

The special issue showcases a series of papers exploring trends, developments and new directions for scientific enquiry on public health in South Africa and the region to an international public health audience. Global Health Action is an open access publication, allowing for the widest possible dissemination of research in over 110 countries.

“The special issue illustrates the importance of building a vibrant African academy, able to lead high quality, multidisciplinary research that generates new knowledge, is policy-relevant and that makes a positive impact on public and population health. The special issue also underscores the need for greater investment in African Schools of Public health, as well as the need for strong government stewardship and leadership,” said guest editors Professors Laetitia Rispel and Sharon Fonn.

Launching the special edition with the head of the School, Professor Rispel, at a gala dinner attended by over 200 dignitaries and guests, deputy editor of Global Health Action, Professor Peter Byass of Umeå University in Sweden, said: “We are proud to highlight the key role the Wits School of Public Health plays in South African public health, as well as South Africa’s leading role in the African continent. Taking action in global health needs new generations of researchers and policy makers to work together on making differences in people’s lives.”

The 23 research articles are clustered around themes which include the centrality of the measurement sciences to the discipline of public health; improving the health of communities and of workers; understanding population health risk factors; concerns with policy design and implementation; challenges related to human resources for health; and optimising health system performance.

The citation of the supplement is Glob Health Action 2013,6:20241, and is found at

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