2021 Year in Review

Executive Editor Michael Stein reviews the most talked about posts of 2021, announces the 2022 PHP fellows, and says goodbye to the 2021 fellows.

blocks with the year turning from 2021 to 2022

Read Time: 4 minutes


Dear PHP Readers,

We have lived through another year of this incredible and terrible pandemic.

As 2021 comes to a close, we are 21 months into a Covid-19-changed world. Eight hundred thousand people have died in the United States and more than 5.3 million worldwide. We are reeling from this viral devastation and at the same time already speaking about the inevitable next pandemic and how we might better prepare.

Nearly one-third of Public Health Post’s existence has been pandemic-constrained. Yet along with writing about the effects of Covid-19, we have continued to keep our editorial eye on research related to the foundational forces that shape health and have made us vulnerable to this pandemic. Each week we write about the conditions of our neighborhoods, our social safety net, challenges to our environment, and our attempts to ameliorate the socioeconomic inequities that create poor health. We write about political and legal forces and the systems that support health at the population level. We write about the health effects of racism which have become all too clear again during the pandemic as people of color have been likelier to get sick and die from Covid-19 than whites, a health gap consistent with American history. We write about Medicaid and wildfires, opioids and obesity, immigration and abortion and chronic pain.

In this pandemic year, the work at Public Health Post has become more important than ever and more recognized as a unique contribution to the health conversation of our nation. Our readership continues to grow. We are reaching new populations, cities, countries every day. In 2021, hundreds of thousands of readers consumed PHP’s assortment of Research, Viewpoint, and Databyte articles. We interviewed leaders from government and business and academia and from our local communities to get their views of our nation’s risks and struggles and successes. And we remembered David Jones, our founding editor, who died tragically this year.

If you have been reading and subscribing to PHP since 2016, thank you. If you’re new to PHP, you can learn about how we feature new articles about the state of the health of the population every day. You can stream our monthly episodes of PHPod and meet the newest generation of health leaders and activists.

If you’re a student, we hope you’ll enter our essay contest about what health priorities the speaker of the house should focus on in 2022. Entries are due Jan. 3, and the prize is $250 and publication in PHP.

If you’re a student, we hope you’ll enter our essay contest about what health priorities the speaker of the house should focus on in 2022. Entries are due Jan. 3, and the prize is $250 and publication in PHP.

Every year, the writing staff of PHP transforms. Readers have spent this year with our creative and generous group of PHP fellows–Sara Mar, Devin O’Donnell, Maya Thirkill, and Rubina Veerakone—whose pieces you’ve seen published on our website, in social media, and in the PHP Friday Roundup newsletters.  These four students will spend the winter and spring finishing their graduate studies at the Boston University School of Public Health. Thank you to all of them for firing up new discussions about health via their articles. Our 2022 fellows—Barbara Espinosa Barrera, Bethany Hallenborg, Connor McCombs, Abby Outterson and Hannah Tremont—will begin to publish in March. We look forward to seeing their work.

Teresa Kett joined the team as our Managing Editor this year, and her experienced hand continues to improve all our products. Adding to our pages, she began writing a fascinating series of profiles of public health practitioners stretched especially thin by Covid-19. Jennifer Beard, our Associate Editor, fixes all our words with patient care and works with our external contributors from across the globe.

We hope we have been helpful as a trusted information source and orchestrator of attention through these difficult times. PHP will continue to educate and entertain in 2022. We resume publication on Monday, January 10, 2022 after our winter publishing break. Again, thank you for reading, writing, and subscribing to PHP.

If you have thoughts, questions, comments, or topics you’d like us to cover, please send them to me at mdstein@bu.edu.

Please remain healthy and safe. Happy Holidays.

Photo via Getty Images