A Collaboration between Cousins: The Canadian Journal of Public Health and the Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics/Une Collaboration Entre Cousins : La Revue Canadienne De Santé Publique et la Société Canadienne D'épidémiologie et De Biostatistiques

By Dodds, Linda; Franco, Eduardo | Canadian Journal of Public Health, January 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

A Collaboration between Cousins: The Canadian Journal of Public Health and the Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics/Une Collaboration Entre Cousins : La Revue Canadienne De Santé Publique et la Société Canadienne D'épidémiologie et De Biostatistiques


Dodds, Linda, Franco, Eduardo, Canadian Journal of Public Health


We are excited to present a Special Section in this issue of the Journal, which marks a new collaboration between close cousins, the Canadian Journal of Public Health (CJPH) and the Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CSEB). Included in this Special Section are manuscripts by authors who presented their research at the Biennial CSEB Conference that was held in Toronto, Ontario, June 1-4, 2015. Presenters were invited to submit a manuscript to CJPH based on their submitted abstract. The submitted manuscripts underwent the normal peer-review process, but with an emphasis on engaging CSEB members as reviewers. In addition to these manuscripts, Dr. Nancy Kreiger has provided a written version of her plenary talk entitled "Epidemiology today: Mitigating threats to an ecosystem". This Special Section provides a way to highlight Canadian epidemiologic research within the broader public health community.

In Canada, a journal specific to epidemiology does not exist. Although a topic of discussion for the past 20 years or more, starting a Canadian epidemiology journal is not a viable option at the present time. Upon contrasting the mandates of public health journals with epidemiology journals, we will note more similarities than differences. The CJPH is "dedicated to fostering excellence in public health research, scholarship, policy and practice" and the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) is "dedicated to publication of original work in research, research methods, and program evaluation in the field of public health". Similar to other epidemiology journals, the American Journal of Epidemiology (AJE) describes itself on its website to be "devoted to the publication of empirical research findings, opinion pieces, and methodological developments in the field of epidemiologic research". Thus, the greatest distinction seems to be "public health research" versus "epidemiologic research". Epidemiology has often been considered the "basic science of public health" and, as such, a subset of public health research. It often has a greater emphasis on upstream rather than applied research, and on methodologic innovations. Ultimately, however, both disciplines have a common goal: to improve population and public health. So, does epidemiology have a "home" in CJPH? Absolutely.

The theme of the Biennial CSEB Conference was "Paradigms to Pragmatism: Epidemiology and Biostatistics for the Changing World". It reflected the vision for a professional society that has reached maturity and celebrates an exceptionally rich landscape of substantive and methodological contributions in Canada. The eight contributed manuscripts in the Special Section in this issue reflect the diversity of epidemiologic research that was showcased in Toronto last June. Two of the papers focus on the distribution of health outcomes (brain cancer and sedentary time), two papers focus on identifying determinants and etiology of health conditions (dietary patterns and breast cancer risk, and risk factors for high school graduation and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), one paper presents a review of the quality of administrative health databases in Canada, and three papers focus on development of novel methods for epidemiologic research. Although they are all "epidemiology" papers, they certainly fit within the purview of CJPH through fostering excellence in public health research and scholarship.

We are grateful to Dr. Nancy Kreiger for providing a written version of her plenary talk. She talks about the epidemiology ecosystem, which includes: scientists, its methods, the knowledge, colleagues and collaborators, funders and publishers. The health of this ecosystem depends on all of these parts and their interconnections. In recent years, epidemiologists have all experienced "threats" to their ecosystem, which as Dr. Kreiger points out can snowball and affect its precarious balance. The article, however, ends on an up-beat note, making suggestions to mitigate these threats and encouraging epidemiologists to work outside of the box. …

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