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The Journal of Adolescent Health Editor-In-Chief Annual Reflection: A Year of Extraordinary Change

      On July 1, 2019, we expected a year of change for the Journal of Adolescent Health. I had just become the Journal's new Editor-In-Chief and assumed leadership of the official publication of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. My main goals for the year were to navigate a smooth transition in Journal leadership, maintain the extraordinary success of the Journal, and develop strategies to amplify the impact of the Journal on adolescent and young adult (AYA) health in the United States and across the world [
      • Ford C.A.
      Looking forward: Amplifying the Journal of Adolescent Health's impact on adolescent and young adult health.
      ]. As I reflect on this past year, it is clear that we have accomplished these goals.
      The leadership of the Journal has smoothly transitioned. I am fortunate to be working closely with the following team of talented Associate Editors: Cherrie B. Boyer, PhD, University of California, San Francisco, focused on Behavioral and Social Sciences; Catherine M. Gordon, MD, MS, Harvard University and Boston Children's Hospital, focused on Biological, Medical, and Health Care Science; Carolyn T. Halpern, PhD, Gillings School of Public Health, University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, focused on Public Health; and David A. Ross, BMBCh, PhD, World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, focused on Global Health. I am fortunate to be working with a substantially expanded Editorial Board, which is now more diverse across the domains of age, gender, race, ethnicity, geography, discipline, and content expertise. The previous Perspectives section has been renamed JAH Intersections and is now under the leadership of a new JAH Intersection Editor, Sheila Quinn, DO, from The University of Pennsylvania and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Quinn and her talented JAH Intersection Committee have formalized the vision and processes to guide this section of the Journal [
      • Quinn S.M.
      • Ford C.A.
      JAH intersection: An introduction and invitation.
      ]. Dr. Charles Irwin continues in his role as JAH Supplements Editor. Tor Berg (Managing Editor) and Teresa Dal Santo, PhD (Editorial Analyst) continue in their respective roles, which ultimately has led to the smooth timely publication of 12 JAH issues and four JAH Supplements since July 2019. Mr. Berg also manages our beautiful Journal website (http://www.jahonline.org) and systematic dissemination strategies. We continue our long-standing partnership with our Elsevier Publishing Team led by Mr. Luke Verrillo.
      The Journal continues to be extraordinarily successful by focusing on attracting the submission of high-quality science to JAH, high-quality timely review processes, and publication of the best available science to inform efforts to improve AYA health. During the 2019 calendar year, the Journal received 1,604 scientific submissions, sent 474 (29%) for peer review, and published 210 original peer-reviewed science articles. Traditional measures of our Journal quality continue to be impressive, with a 2018 Journal Impact Factor of 4.021. We anticipate that the 2019 Journal Impact Factor will be released soon after this editorial is published and currently project that our Impact Factor will be similar or slightly higher. Strategies to amplify the impact of the Journal on AYA health in the United States and across the world continue to be developed and implemented. We have increased the numbers of editorials that we publish, which helps to place the content of specific peer-reviewed scientific articles within context and translate important findings to a broad audience. When there are naturally occurring clusters of accepted articles, we have published them together along with commentaries to synthesize results in a way that is meaningful to a large audience. Examples include our January 2020 issue, which included multiple articles and commentaries focused on e-cigarette use among the youth. In June 2020, we published multiple articles and commentaries on the health and well-being of LGBTQ youth in conjunction with Pride month. We're excited to be developing new systematic dissemination strategies and evolving existing ones.
      Since July 2019, JAH has published four supplements with a unique focus on programs and initiatives that use the inclusion of adolescents in the global sustainable development goals to guide their work. Beginning with our supplement in July 2019, An Investment Case to Guarantee the Rights of Adolescents, Dr. Anju Malhotra and authors identify the sustainable development goals as the guiding principle for their work. Studies in this supplement demonstrate that investment in health, education, safety, and productivity result not just in improvement of adolescent health but also in the broader economic and social interests of a country or region [
      • Malhotra A.
      Charting a pathway to multisectorial investments in adolescent health in low and middle income countries.
      ,
      • Kanem N.
      Adolescents: The face of today, the face of the future.
      ]. In a supplement published in December 2019, colleagues from the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) outlined the progress that has been made in improving adolescent sexual and reproductive health since the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) was held 25 years ago. Publication of the supplement coincided with the ICPD-25 meeting in Kenya in November 2019, and Dr. Caroline Kabiru, Dr. Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli, Dr. Irwin, and Ms. Danielle Engel highlighted findings published in the supplement to emphasize that the critical international commitment of increased investments in adolescent sexual reproductive health and rights over the past 25 years has led to significant improvements in the health and well-being of adolescents [
      • Kabiru C.W.
      Adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health and rights: What has been achieved in the 25 years since the 1994 International/Conference on Population and Development and what remains to be done.
      ,
      • Venkatraman C.-M.
      The political, research, programmatic, and social responses to adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights in the 25 years since the International Conference on Population Development.
      ,
      • Irwin Jr., C.E.
      Improving adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights: Reflections of the past 25 years.
      ]. The third supplement, titled Gender Norms and Adolescent Health, highlighted the critical importance of substantial improvements in access to health care and education for girls and young women, while demonstrating how little work is being done on the role that gender plays in health outcomes [
      • Irwin Jr., C.E.
      Centering gender in our clinical, public health and research programs.
      ]. In their introduction to the supplement, Dr. Margaret Greene and Dr. George Patton argue that if we truly want to achieve gender equality, we need to understand the role that gender plays for both males and females while also expanding our understanding of gender beyond binary terms [
      • Greene M.E.
      • Patton G.
      Adolescence and gender equality in health.
      ]. The fourth supplement presented a series of unique analyses from the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HSBC) WHO Collaborative Study, which has surveyed up to 50 member countries in Europe and North America since 1982 [
      • Irwin Jr., C.E.
      Understanding the health and well-being of early adolescents throughout the world: findings from the 2017–2018 survey of health behavior in school-aged children.
      ]. Dr. Jason Nagata sets the stage for this supplement, pointing out that the HBSC is one of the first large longitudinal surveys to explore the social determinants of health, mental health and well-being, the impact of social media, and how these data have informed governmental investments in young people over time [
      • Nagata J.
      New findings from the health behaviour in school-aged children survey: Social media, social determinants, and mental health.
      ].
      In July 2019, we could not have anticipated the extraordinary changes that would occur due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Disruptions to health and well-being have occurred across the world [
      • Cohen J.
      • Kupferschmidt K.
      Countries test tactics in 'war' against COVID-19.
      ], as well as in research operations [
      • Servick K.
      • Cho A.
      • Couzin-Frankel J.
      • Guglielmi G.
      Coronavirus disruptions reverberate through research.
      ]. The Journal is committed to publishing work that informs the protection of AYA health and well-being during these unprecedented times. In this issue, Davis and colleagues report on their experiences managing AYA patients with eating disorders in the context of widespread COVID-related service restrictions in Singapore, which occurred weeks before colleagues in other parts of the world had to adjust to similar issues [
      • Davis C.
      • Ching N.K.
      • Oh J.Y.
      • et al.
      Caring for children and adolescents with eating disorders in the current COVID-19 pandemic: A Singapore perspective.
      ]. In an editorial, Gordon and Katzman consider the Singapore experience and provide context for colleagues in other parts of the world [
      • Gordon C.M.
      • Katzman D.K.
      Lessons learned in caring for adolescents with eating disorders: The Singapore experience.
      ]. Sharma and colleagues have contributed a letter that describes their assessment of risk and protective factors for AYA mental health within the context of COVID-19 in Nepal [
      • Sharma V.
      • Ortiz M.R.
      • Sharma N.
      Risk and protective factors for adolescent and young adult mental health within the context of COVID-19: A perspective from Nepal.
      ]. Directors of academic training Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) Programs across the United States report on the challenges and opportunities that they are experiencing associated with rapid, dramatic changes in clinical, research, and teaching environments [
      • Emans S.J.
      • Ford C.A.
      • Irwin Jr., C.E.
      • et al.
      Early COVID-19 impact on adolescent health and medicine programs in the United States: LEAH program leadership reflections.
      ]. McClain offers a personal narrative for JAH Intersection reflecting on his early experiences using telemedicine to care for AYA patients within a new landscape defined by public health strategies to reduce impact of the COVID-19 pandemic [
      • McClain Z.
      Silver linings pandemic.
      ].
      This has been an extraordinary year. In the month that the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine cancelled their national annual meeting, and with it the annual Gallagher Lecture, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story entitled “How a Philadelphia Doctor Stopped a Virus Outbreak In 1934 - With Blood” [
      • Avril T.
      How a Philadelphia doctor stopped a virus outbreak in 1934 - with blood.
      ]. Remarkably, this was a story about J. Roswell Gallagher. The story describes how in January 1934, before we had a vaccine and when measles killed hundreds of people each year in the United States, Gallagher used convalescent plasma to try to reduce risk and severity of measles among young people. The article ends with, “He is credited with pioneering the field of adolescent medicine, arguing that teens should be treated differently from children and adults.” Nearly 85 years later, academic institutions are announcing research studies to evaluate the impact of using antibody-rich plasma collected from people who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection to treat sick patients. JAMA is publishing experiences on the use of convalescent plasma to try to treat COVID-19–infected patients and thoughts about related possibilities and challenges [
      • Shen C.
      • Wang Z.
      • Zhao F.
      • et al.
      Treatment of 5 critically ill patients with COVID-19 with convalescent plasma.
      ,
      • Roback J.D.
      • Guarner J.
      Convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19: Possibilities and challenges.
      ]. What a very strange coalescence of story lines!
      During times of stress and challenge, it is helpful to rely on high-quality science thoughtfully placed within context. The Journal will continue to focus on attracting the submission of high-quality science, providing a rigorous and timely review process, and publication of the best available science to inform efforts to improve AYA health. The Journal will continue to use editorials, commentaries, letters, and JAH Intersection to help place science within a broader context for wide audiences committed to the health and well-being of young people across the world. I look forward to the coming year.

      References

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