OBJECTIVES: Public Health Reports (PHR), the official journal of the Office of the US Surgeon General and US Public Health Service, is the oldest public health journal in the United States. Considering its heritage through the eyes of its past editors in chief (EICs), many of whom have been influential public health figures, can provide a fresh point of view on US public health history, of which the journal has been an integral part. Here, we reconstruct the timeline of past PHR EICs and identify women among them. METHODS: We reconstructed the PHR EIC timeline by reviewing the journal's previous mastheads and its articles describing leadership transitions. For each EIC, we identified dates in office, concurrent job titles, key contributions, and other important developments. RESULTS: PHR had 25 EIC transitions in 109 years of its history, during which a single individual in charge of the journal could be identified. Only 5 identifiable EICs were women, who served as EIC for approximately one-quarter of the journal's traceable history (28 of 109 years). PHR's longest-serving EIC was a woman named Marian P. Tebben (1974-1994). CONCLUSIONS: PHR history revealed frequent EIC transitions and a low representation of women among its EICs. Mapping the timeline of past EICs of a historic public health journal can yield valuable insights into the workings of US public health, especially in the area of building a research evidence base.
OBJECTIVE: Public Health Reports (PHR) is the oldest public health journal in the United States and has reported on viral epidemics since the 19th century. We describe the creation and analysis of a collection of historic PHR articles on emerging viral epidemics in the United States to inform public health response to COVID-19 and future epidemics. METHODS: We searched databases from 1878 through 2021 using custom search strings and conducted a manual search for articles published under previously used names for PHR. We evaluated all articles based on inclusion/exclusion criteria and coded the final list for virus/disease, article type, public health emergency preparedness and response capabilities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and PubMed citation count. RESULTS: We identified 349 relevant articles including 130 commentaries/reviews/editorials, 79 epidemiologic reports, 75 research articles, and 65 case study/practice articles. The collection focused on influenza (n = 244), COVID-19 (n = 75), dengue (n = 14), and other emerging viruses, such as Zika and Ebola (n = 25). The collection included 48 articles on health disparities/health of various disadvantaged populations, highlighting such disparities as race and ethnicity (n = 22), socioeconomic status (n = 17), and age (n = 15). When we categorized articles by CDC public health emergency preparedness and response capabilities, we found that 207 addressed surveillance and epidemiologic investigation, 36 addressed community preparedness, and 28 addressed medical countermeasure dispensing and administration. The articles addressing surveillance and epidemiologic investigation, nonpharmaceutical interventions, and community preparedness had the most PubMed citations (799, 334, and 308, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: PHR's historic articles on US emerging viral epidemics covered a range of virus/disease types, emergency preparedness and response capabilities, and contribution types and were widely cited in the scholarly literature. This publicly available and continuously updated collection is a valuable resource for pandemic planning and response.