Since it was founded in 1902, the Pan American Health Organization has provided countries with technical cooperation to prevent, control, and eradicate diseases, promote operational research, and inform health professionals and the general population about scientific advances in the field of health.
In the early twentieth century, the main public health problems were cholera, yellow fever, smallpox, and tuberculosis–diseases that did not respect borders, race, age, or socioeconomic class. PAHO recognized early on that the eradication of these diseases required international cooperation in different areas and, importantly, exchange of information among the countries of the Region.
In May 1922, the first issue of the Boletín Panamericano de Sanidad was launched. This scientific publication, containing information on institutional activities and the control of infectious diseases, promoted regular scientific communication between the health authorities of the Region.
Over the years, the original Boletín became today's Pan American Journal of Public Health. Its evolution is inextricably linked to the Organization and it has remained faithful to the purpose of generating and disseminating scientific information relevant to decision-making.
As a prelude to the 120th anniversary of the Pan American Health Organization in 2022, the Journal marks its 100th year of uninterrupted publication in 2021. During that century, its format and content have evolved with the times.
The original Spanish-language publication–in print format and largely descriptive–gave way to a trilingual, digital, peer-reviewed, international scientific journal available in the main databases. And the initial focus on old diseases such as leprosy and smallpox was extended to other infectious diseases–some of them new, such as HIV and COVID-19–, noncommunicable diseases, health systems, universal health, and other issues of regional interest.
However, throughout all these years, the Journal's essential mission has remained unchanged: to serve as a tool to generate and widely disseminate free and accessible scientific information for all health professionals, decision makers, and the public health community in the Region.
The first issue of the 1922 Boletín included an article entitled "The importance of health cooperation among nations." Today, COVID-19 reminds us that international cooperation is more necessary than ever to prevent the transmission of diseases with a global impact, and that a key part of this cooperation is the production and exchange of useful scientific evidence. In an age when misinformation is becoming more prevalent and putting the strategies of health systems at risk, having strong and reliable information is the first step in making sound health decisions.
We are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Pan American Journal of Public Health
with the firm intention of continuing to disseminate information on health issues and their respective solutions for another 100 years, at the service of public health in the Americas.