IJERPH’s Vision with AAAS Fellow Professor Dr. Paul Tchounwou

The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) is dedicated to the publication of scholarly research pertaining to health promotion and disease prevention. Established over two decades ago, IJERPH has been under the esteemed leadership of Professor Dr. Paul Tchounwou as its Editor-in-Chief (EiC), since its inception.

Recently, Professor Dr. Tchounwou has received prestigious accolades in recognition of his contributions to the field, further underscoring his leadership and commitment to advancing public health discourse through IJERPH. A recent visit by MDPI staff provided an opportunity to gain insights into the journal’s operations and strategic direction.

In this article, we provide an overview of IJERPH, introduce its Editor-in-Chief, Professor Dr. Paul Tchounwou, and explore the journal’s vision and objectives for future endeavors.

Who is Professor Dr. Paul Tchounwou?

Professor Dr. Paul Tchounwou is Dean of the School of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at Morgan State University. He has over 30 years of higher education experience, which includes 26 years at Jackson State University.

His wide-ranging research interests include environmental health and disease; human health and ecological risk assessment and management; environmental genomics and proteomics; and environmental medicine.

Professor Dr. Tchounwou has served as IJERPH’s EiC since 2004, when the journal was first established and its inaugural issue was published.

Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Professor Dr. Tchounwou has been elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). His name appeared alongside 502 other distinguished scientists across various disciplines from around the world as part of the 2023 class of AAAS Fellows.

The selection cites his cutting-edge contributions to identifying molecular targets for cancer therapy and supporting US Government policy decisions relating to toxic and hazardous material management.

Such work has had a great impact on public health policies and the scientific community. Accordingly, he is ranked among the “World’s Top 2% of Scientists” according to researchers from Stanford University.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, MDPI visited him in Baltimore, USA, in June 2024.

MDPI visit

In June 2024, Lin Li (Publisher), Bonnie Wang (Senior Associate Publisher), and Caleb Snider (Operations Manager) from MDPI, along with two members of the IJERPH editorial board, Prof. Dr. Teodor Postolache and Prof. Dr. Lynn Grattan, visited Prof. Dr. Tchounwou in Baltimore. The purpose of the visit was to commemorate his appointment as an AAAS Fellow and to engage in discussions concerning the future direction of IJERPH.

The MDPI staff extended congratulations to Prof. Dr. Tchounwou, providing gifts, including flowers, in recognition for his outstanding achievements. Following this, the EiC/EBM meeting started.

Bonnie Wang initiated the session by presenting the latest performance data of IJERPH for the year 2023, the recently calculated CiteScore, and updates on the journal’s editorial structure and scope.

Subsequently, Caleb Snider moderated a discussion covering various aspects of the journal’s administration, vision, and the importance of research areas related to climate change, urban health disparities, and social determinants of health.

Prof. Dr. Tchounwou underscored that the primary goal for IJERPH currently is to pursue reinstatement on the Web of Science. He expressed his intention to potentially visit the Clarivate headquarters in the future, accompanied by members of the MDPI Indexing team.

IJERPH’s vision

In 2023, Prof. Dr. Paul Tchounwou published A New Vision for IJERPH—A Transdisciplinary Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

The article reflects on the journal’s history and its successes, including articles being highlighted in prominent news outlets like Forbes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC News, National Geographic, and The Guardian.

Then, the article summarises a special editorial board meeting that was held in Basel, Switzerland, in July 2023. Attendees included Prof. Dr. Tchounwou, various Section Editors-in-Chief, several MDPI personnel, the Scientific Officers, the journal’s editorial team, and others.

The meeting’s goals were to review the journal’s status, identify strengths and weaknesses, and make recommendations on strategic activities aimed at refining the scope and specific aims, improving the scientific quality, and enhancing the reputation of the journal.

Overall, the meeting was highly productive. There were many ideas and strategies about the above topics.

New IJERPH scope, aims, and sections

The scope and specific aims of IJERPH focus on its transdisciplinary nature and were developed to respond to the limitations of specific scientific disciplines in addressing environmental and public health research in a comprehensive manner. Here is the description:

IJERPH is a peer-reviewed, transdisciplinary journal focused on publishing content related to health promotion and disease prevention. IJERPH aims to bring together all scientific communities from various disciplines that address health promotion, wellbeing, and the improvement of quality of life. We strive to broaden the perception of public health to encompass all aspects of biological, social, environmental, and behavioral determinants of health, shifting the focus beyond traditional boundaries.

By adopting such a transdisciplinary approach, IJERPH aims to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange across diverse fields of research.

Alongside the refined scope and aims, the journal restructured its sections into seven main ones:

  1. Global Health;
  2. Healthcare Sciences;
  3. Behavioural and Mental Health;
  4. Infectious Diseases, Chronic Diseases, and Disease Prevention;
  5. Exercise and Health-Related Quality of Life;
  6. Environmental Health;
  7. Environmental Sciences.

Prof. Dr. Tchounwou concluded with the following:

I would like to acknowledge the outstanding contributions of the entire editorial board and the MDPI leadership team. I sincerely thank them for their valuable input in evaluating the Journal’s current status and recommending key strategies for moving IJERPH to the next level of scientific excellence. Their thoughtful advice and input on the strategic development of our journal are highly appreciated.

IJERPH’s 20th anniversary

The year 2024 marks IJERPH’s 20th anniversary. During this time, the journal has published more than 62,500 papers from more than 224,400 authors.

If you want to see a timeline of the journal’s history and an overview of its statistics, visit the journal’s anniversary page here.

Exciting times ahead for IJERPH

MDPI extends congratulations to Professor Dr. Paul Tchounwou on his remarkable achievement of being elected as an AAAS Fellow. His exceptional contributions and visionary leadership over the past 20 years at IJERPH have been instrumental in positioning the journal as a frontrunner in research and development pertaining to health promotion and disease prevention.

Exciting developments lie ahead for IJERPH, as the journal’s editorial team moves forward with the implementation and refinement of the strategies discussed during the July 2023 and June 2024 meetings. These initiatives promise to further elevate the journal’s standing and impact in the scientific community.

For those interested in learning more about IJERPH or contemplating submission opportunities, we invite you to visit the journal’s homepage International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health | An Open Access Journal from MDPI for additional information.