Letter from the Scientific Editor

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Dear Readers:

Today's issue of Health Reports marks the official re-launching of the journal. Health Reports has a new look along with a broadened mandate to become Canada's must-read journal for discoveries in population health and health services research. Health Reports  publishes original research on diverse topics related to understanding and improving the health of populations and the delivery of health care. We especially welcome studies that are based on analyses of national/provincial surveys or national/provincial administrative databases, as well as results of international comparative health research.  Health Reports furthermore encourages the sharing of methodological information among those engaged in the analysis of health surveys or administrative databases.

The re-launch comes as Canada's health data environment has reached a certain stage of maturity, offering insights from large-scale, geographically rich cross-sectional surveys, as well as longitudinal surveys that continue to follow the life and health trajectories of Canadian adults and children. Longitudinal surveys deserve a special mention here in that they are the Hubble telescope1 of the health researcher. They allow us to look back in time at accumulated life events and experiences and, in so doing, provide the potential for better understanding of what makes Canadians healthy.  Data access has also improved through the launching of the network of Research Data Centres at universities across the country. We intend for Health Reports to serve as an archive of the knowledge gained from the enriched data and data access environments.

Current stakeholders and contributors to Health Reports were consulted on the strengths and weaknesses of the publication. Results of the consultation led to several significant changes. These include a new governance model, specifically an editorial board of internationally recognized researchers in population health and health services research; outreach to the research and policy communities; and style and author guidelines consistent with academic health journals.

The re-launch also begins a new era of timely publishing of and open access to population health and health services research. Health Reports will appear monthly in electronic format and quarterly in print. We seek submissions from researchers based in government or in academia that can come in the form of a traditional research article, a shorter descriptive piece that we call "Health Matters" or a contribution that addresses data quality or technical issues related to the analysis of complex health surveys or administrative databases – "Methodological Insights." Authors publishing in Health Reports will see their articles indexed in the biomedical journal online database MEDLINE/PubMed and articles are positioned for widespread media uptake through release in Statistics Canada's The Daily. (click here for Author Guidelines)

Today's issue examines life expectancy in Canada's Inuit-inhabited areas and obesity and diet of the Aboriginal population of Canada. Both are examples of research that translate Canadian data holdings into important discoveries for the health research and policy communities as well as for the Canadian public. We invite you to read on.


Nancy Ross, PhD
Associate Professor, McGill University
Scientific Editor, Health Reports


1. Butz, W.P. & Torrey, B.B. (2006) Some Frontiers in Social Science. Science, 312, 1898-1900.