2021 THEMES


The editorial themes for the 2021 Policy & Practice issues are rooted in our mission to advance the well-being of all people by influencing modern approaches to sound policy, building the capacity of public agencies to enable healthy families and communities, and connecting leaders to accelerate learning and generate practical solutions together.

Policy & Practice is a member benefit. To access past issues, please login. If you are interested in receiving or contributing to any upcoming issues, please contact the editor, Jessica Garon.

To continue the shared learning of APHSA members and partners in our collective journey to build well-being from the ground up, the 2021 themes focus on the following:

February — Weathering the Storm: Redesigning Our System for a More Resilient Tomorrow.

The path forward through our current health and economic crisis is anchored in the critical infrastructure of what communities need to weather the storm. To bridge the social and economic gaps families are experiencing, address widespread calls for racial justice, and prevent further unnecessary harm, we must redesign our human services system to ensure it works in service of people, and not the other way around. The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated just how inter-connected the foundational building blocks to well-being are. In order to build a better, more resilient tomorrow for all Americans we must focus on advancements in the field and necessary investments; health disparities and the social and environmental conditions that drive them; employment opportunities and access to safe and affordable child care and schools; and more. Articles should showcase these, and other ways we can ensure an equitable recovery and long-term repair.
Submission Deadline: January 15

April — Moving Beyond Stability: Achieving Social and Economic Mobility.
This issue will focus on how we can orient health and human services in a person-centered way that goes below the surface to not only address the presenting symptom or challenge but move toward addressing underlying causes of economic insecurity so that families and communities can thrive. Just as it is important to understand and address the root causes of illness in order to live a healthy life, we believe it’s equally important to understand and address the enabling conditions for social and economic well-being in order to become a nation where all Americans can thrive. Potential article topics include post-service delivery models; how to define, quantify, and measure social and economic mobility; mitigating the fiscal benefits cliff; engagement with employers and the business community; root cause level supports, including the role of non-economic social supports; addressing structural racism and inequities; and more.
Submission Deadline: March 12

June — Human-Centered Design: Putting Family at the Center of Our Work.
This issue will focus on the use of human-centered principles impacting the design and delivery of services. Articles will showcase examples of agencies, both at the state and local levels, and in the private and nonprofit sectors leveraging population-level data to understand community context and align programs and services to actual needs. We also wish to highlight client empowerment, community engagement, justice, and equity principles and standards. In this issue, we are interested in spotlighting the ways in which health and human services agencies and their partners are generating knowledge and evidence about what works for whom and in what context.
Submission Deadline: May 7

August — Innovating for the Future: Maximizing Modern Tools and Platforms.
This issue is our yearly “technology-focused” issue and is shared at the ISM Annual Conference.* Articles will showcase emerging technology and business practices that help advance the next generation of health and human services by giving modern tools to the workforce and customers. We also wish to showcase what is required of agencies to modernize their business model for the future, leverage advance analytics to inform decision-making, and assure ethical use of data through an equity lens. Submission
Submission Deadline: July 1

October — Navigating Upstream: Achieving Better Health and Well-Being through Prevention.
This issue is focused on prevention and early intervention as ways to improve overall health and well-being and how health and human services can positively impact the social determinants of health. Articles focused on promoting child and family well-being and preventing child maltreatment through effective primary prevention and early intervention will be particularly important to include in this issue. Other topics will explore the integration of large systems (e.g., housing, employment, and health and human services) and learning from other sectors such as public health and education in working upstream to address root causes.
Submission Deadline: August 27

December — Partnering for Impact: Co-Creating Generative Solutions.
This issue will focus on cross-sector collaboration, both as it relates to public-private partnerships and coordination across related public sectors such as education, housing, employment, and criminal justice. Contributions should include examples of collaborations and cross-sector work contributing to system change and leading to better outcomes for communities through generative solutions. We are looking for examples of partnerships that are moving beyond the traditional contractor-vendor relationship to those that are truly co-creating, driving better outcomes, and achieving collective impact.
Submission Deadline: October 29

*The annual IT Solutions Management for Human Services (ISM) conference convenes leaders in state and local government, innovative technology vendors, and federal officials to share strategies to improve health and human services programs using cutting edge IT solutions. This year’s hybrid conference is being optimistically planned for September 26-29 in Cincinnati, OH.


Policy & Practice is a member benefit. To access past issues, please login. If you are interested in receiving or contributing to any upcoming issues, please contact the editor, Jessica Garon.