HSR Special Issue Call for Abstracts: Social Care and the US Health Care Sector

Cross-posted from the HSR website.

Sponsored by: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Submission deadline for abstracts: Wednesday January 3, 2024

Health Services Research (HSR) is partnering with the Social Interventions Research and Evaluation Network (SIREN), a research and research translation center at the University of California San Francisco focused on social care, on a special issue on the health care sector’s practices and opportunities for identifying and addressing social care needs.

The guest editor in chief for the special issue will be HSR Senior Associate Editor Margarita Alegria, PhD, Disparities Research Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Mongan Institute, and Harvard Medical School, working with guest editor HSR Editorial Board member Carrie Fry, assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and Danielle Hessler Jones, PhD, Laura M. Gottlieb, MD, MPH, Emilia De Marchis, MD, MAS, and Yuri Cartier, MPH, from SIREN; and Rebekah Angove, PhD, from the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF).

For this issue, social care means how health care institutions and health care-partnered institutions (e.g., community-based organizations or social service organizations partnering with health care) identify and address patient- and population-level social assets, risks or needs (e.g., related to food, housing, transportation, and other needs). It also includes how they use that understanding to improve patient health, for example, improving access to resources that address the identified needs and tailoring medical care based on those needs.

Social Care and the US Health Care Sector will include original research and perspective articles on the implementation and effectiveness of health care policies and practices associated with collecting and applying information as well as addressing patient-level socioeconomic adversity (sometimes referred to as social risks, social needs, or health-related social needs, e.g., food, housing, or transportation insecurity).

We are interested in quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-methods research studies. We also welcome manuscripts that explain what is needed to improve bridges between social care and health care organizations. We will not consider submissions describing associations between social determinants of health and health outcomes unless they also assess interventions related to policy or practice.

Of particular interest for this special issue is research that explores:

  • Benefits/drawbacks of different approaches to social risk/needs data collection for use in health care or social service organizations partnering with health care;
  • The health and cost impact of social care interventions in health care or social service organizations partnering with health care (not limited to navigation programs), including impacts on racial and ethnic populations or other health inequities (e.g., related to language, culture, health literacy, gender identity and sexuality, immigration status);
  • Facilitators and barriers of different implementation approaches of social care in health, health care, or social service organizations partnering with health care;
  • Impact and comparative impacts of different social care health policy approaches;
  • Community-led/partnered social care programs and research strategies;
  • Novel research methods for assessing the impacts of social care policies, programs, or interventions partnering with health care or social service organizations partnering with health care.

The deadline for initial submission of abstracts is Wednesday January 3, 2024. Abstracts may not exceed 300 words and must be formatted as indicated in Section of the HSR Author Instructions (keywords not necessary).

Abstracts will be evaluated by a multidisciplinary review panel. Evaluation criteria include: (1) quality, rigor, and originality; (2) relevance to the special issue theme; and (3) clarity of writing and presentation. PAF Experts by Experience will contribute to reviewing abstracts for this special issue to ensure the selected manuscripts adequately reflect patients’ experience.

Authors of abstracts that most closely match the criteria will be invited to submit full manuscripts. Invited manuscripts must follow the Author Instructions and undergo the same HSR peer review process as regular manuscripts. However, due to the strict timeline for publishing the special issue, the process may be shorter. Authors must be prompt in returning revisions. Invited articles will be published online on acceptance. Some accepted articles might not be selected for the special issue but will be published in a regular issue.

The expected publication date for the special issue is September 2025. To submit an abstract for consideration, please email it with the corresponding author’s contact information to hsr@aha.org. Include “Social Care and the US Health care Sector” in the email subject line.

Key dates for authors
Submission deadline for abstracts: Wednesday 3 January 2024
Full manuscript invitation: Monday 18 March 2024
Full manuscript deadline: Monday 17 June 2024
Final notification of all accepted manuscripts: June 2025
Special issue publication date: September 2025, but accepted articles will be posted earlier, after approval of proofs by authors

Questions? Please email Kelly Teagle at hsr@aha.org.

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