This foreword to a special issue on public health systems research articles discusses the history and evolution of the field. The author describes the function of the AcademyHealth Interest Group of Public Health Systems Research (PHSR) and provides a definition of public health systems research.

Key Findings:

  • Public health systems research examines the financing, organization and delivery of public health services within communities.
  • Public health systems research is multidisciplinary and analyzes the interactions between different components of public health.
  • The AcademyHealth Interest Group of PHSR aims to support the development and growth of this field of research.

This special issue of Health Services Research aims to encourage thoughtful, thorough public health systems research to improve the health of the public.