On Peer Reviews
by Bruce D. Dart, PhD
Peer review processes have been in place and used almost as long as man has been printing research findings. The value of peer review has been well documented, as peers with similar knowledge or experience are often the best judges of quality work. These efforts aide journals that utilize this process to become trusted and valued in their fields, as it simultaneously results in value for the reviewer. Besides bringing innovative research to my desk, participating in the peer-review process has been enjoyable as well as enlightening. There are times when I feel the burden of responsibility that service in public health departments brings, especially when there doesn’t seem to be any movement in the sterile datasets that equate to communities’ indicators not moving in any direction. About the time I am wondering if I can truly make a difference in my community and profession, I get asked to review cutting-edge research that is relative and can be applied to improve the health status of my jurisdiction. Research that gives the practitioner the ability to apply tools, programs, or processes can result in community transformation, and all it takes is one success to give the practitioner hope that he or she can be impactful. Reviewing article submissions for the JPHMP allows me to navigate between a world of academic rigor and public health practice and exposes me to creativity of researchers and authors, which ultimately gives me hope. Hope that our profession is not doomed by complacency and that we have motivated, dedicated, and compassionate researchers who are developing work that can become reality for people in our country who ultimately need it most. Thank you JPHMP for giving me the opportunity to review such research articles and most importantly, thank you for bringing the hope.
Bruce D. Dart, PhD, has served 5 local health departments in 3 states during his 36-year career in public health. Currently, he is the executive director of the Tulsa City/County Health Department (THD), a local public health agency of 340 team members in Tulsa, Oklahoma. [Full bio]