Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Special Issue of Health Services Research Provides Forum for Diverse Research in Global Health

Leslie Curry, MPH, PhD, research scientist, Yale Global Health Leadership Institute

A special Yale-sponsored issue of the journal Health Services Research (HSR) dedicated to global health issues came out in December. This edition of HSR, which is the first issue dedicated entirely to global health, points out the importance of having a forum for researchers, health care workers and academicians to showcase potential interaction between health services research, field and global health topics. Many of the disciplines and frameworks of health services can be helpful in global health efforts, particularly in the ongoing health systems strengthening work. This special issue of HSR publishes outstanding work in several critical areas of global health and illustrates the value of diverse disciplines in addressing key research questions in this field.

An introductory article written by Yale faculty provides an overview of how the evolution of global health from its roots in international health to its current focus on health systems strengthening provides many opportunities for social scientists to make meaningful contributions to the field. Whereas international health generally focused on low- and middle-income countries, emphasized bilateral cooperation, and attracted researchers from medicine and public health, the field of global health encompasses a much broader vision.

The featured papers tackle several pressing issues in the organization, delivery and financing of health care in highly diverse international settings. The issues include patient satisfaction and catastrophic health expenditures in health systems reforms; health care consumer preferences in post-conflict settings, national policy decisions to adopt universal health insurance; racial disparities in childhood insurance; and features of hospital organizational culture that influence hospital performance. Together, the papers involve data from multiple countries and continents.

The special issue is accessible online now: