Twenty years ago, there was no venue for articles specifically related to public and community health nursing. This void was filled by the creation of Public Health Nursing, a journal devoted to the concerns of practicing public health nurses, educators and administrators. The original journal editors, Dr. Sherry L. Shamansky and Dr. Katherine Young Graham, were highly successful in establishing the journal and in attracting first-rate research articles and other features. Over time, the focus of the journal expanded to include public and community health nursing worldwide. Drs. Shamansky and Graham retired from their editorial positions at the end of 2003. In conjunction with a panel of editorial advisory board members and the outgoing editors, Blackwell Publishing appointed two new editors, Dr. Sarah E. Abrams and Dr. Judith C. Hays, who began their official duties on Jan. 1, 2004.

Sarah Abrams, PhD, RN, BC, earned her master’s degree from the Yale University School of Nursing and her doctorate in nursing at the University of California, San Francisco. Coming to nursing mid-career from health policy roles in California state government and the University of California, Dr. Abrams has worked to develop programs for older adults in public health and long term care systems. A clinical nurse specialist in community health, she is also ANCC certified as a gerontological clinical nurse specialist. Since joining the faculty of the University of Vermont in 2002, Dr. Abrams has taught in both the undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing in the areas of community health and geriatric primary care. Her program of research is centered on improvement of systems of care for older adults, particularly those with neurocognitive impairments or chronic mental illnesses. The 1990 American Nurses’ Foundation Teresa Christy Scholar, she conducts historical research in the area of philanthropic and religious contributions to nursing. Dr. Abrams serves on the Vermont Department of Health Arthritis Program State Advisory Board. She is a member of the American Public Health Association—Public Health Nursing Section, the American Association for the History of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau, and is currently secretary of the Vermont State Nurses’ Association. She has a daughter currently completing her master’s degree in historic preservation and has recently moved to a country home where, in her free moments, she communes with the wildlife.

Judith C. (Judy) Hays, RN, PhD, is Associate Research Professor at Duke University Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, and the School of Nursing. She earned degrees from Wellesley College (BA/English Literature), Emory University (BSN), and Yale University Schools of Nursing (MSN/Community Health Clinical Nurse Specialist) and Medicine (PhD/Chronic Disease Epidemiology). Duke awarded her a post-doctoral Fellowship in Aging, and she joined the faculty there in 1992. Her research is published in more than 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals in psychiatry, aging and nursing. Her studies focus on lifespan predictors of adaptation in late life; special interests include residential change, depression, religiousness, and death, dying, and bereavement. She also teaches Population Health in the MSN program at Duke and supervises the research projects of undergraduates, medical students and post-doctoral Fellows. She is married to Richard Hays, PhD, a Distinguished Professor in the Duke Divinity School, and is the mother of two: a son pursuing doctoral studies at Emory and a daughter who is a stage actress in Los Angeles. In her free time, she putters in her rose garden, re-reads Jane Austen novels, and clambers up mountains. Her most strenuous climb to-date was up Mount Ruapehu, the New Zealand volcano portrayed in Lord of the Rings as Mount Doom.

The Public Health Nursing journal of the 21st century has already begun to take shape under the new editors. Working with the journal’s editorial advisory board, they have begun a strategic planning process that involves reviewing the aim and scope of the journal, revision of its format, planning for a fresh new cover image, and increasing journal subscription both in the United States and abroad. Current circulation is to over 1,350 individual and institutional subscribers worldwide. The strategic planning effort will also evaluate the journal’s potential to serve as a vehicle for continuing education for public health nurses.

Charged with bringing new focus to the journal, Judy and Sarah have developed new manuscript types with specific guidelines to ensure timely reporting of cutting-edge research, program evaluations, and case studies, along with features related to health policy, legal and ethical issues, theoretical bases for practice, educational demonstrations, and curricular issues. Both believe in the value of understanding the past as a prologue to future development; therefore, each issue will also address some aspect of public health nursing history. Most significantly, the journal will actively promote an interdisciplinary approach to population-based health care, while retaining its primary mission as a venue for nursing literature.

The editors seek excellent manuscripts from both experienced and new authors and solicit from members of related disciplines manuscripts focused on issues relevant to population-based nursing care. Online manuscript submission was inaugurated in January 2004 at the journal’s Manuscript Central site, <>. An author submitting a manuscript for the first time using Manuscript Central will be directed through the process in a series of steps, with easy instructions and access to the author guidelines for Public Health Nursing This system will facilitate the review and decision process, and allow authors to monitor the progress of their manuscripts at each step.

Welcome the new Public Health Nursing as the pre-eminent publication for public health nurses and others interested in the practice of public health nursing. The editors look forward to meeting PHN section members and to reporting on significant developments within the APHA-PHN section.