In a world where the public is absent in conversations about the public’s health, a group of individuals began a mission to give voice to the most fundamental aspect of public health—the people.

We are a community of leaders working together to generate healing and transformation by centering people first in health.

The institute of medicine defines public health as ‘what society must do to keep people healthy.’ We agree but have found that the field often uses tools that rarely put people first, tools that are not often accessible, tools that may not resonate, and tools that are often denied, missed, or ignored.

We know that no single strategy will work to put people first in public health. But listening matters. So does engagement. We are here to listen; we are here to learn; we are here to reach one another as we bridge the deep divide between the public and their health. We also believe that the often-unheard stories, unspoken sentiments, and unshared portraits may help close the gap between the public and public health experts. Continue reading

We are an anti-establishment, anti-racist space for critical conversations and dialogue in public health. We publish diverse authors and artists, both seasoned and emerging, new and unheard, particularly from populations underrepresented in public health. We also publish their fiction, non-fiction, poetry, art, letters, and other literary works. We aim to advance work that pushes the margins of public health.


Our Vision

To boldly center the public within public health with a generation of leaders igniting healing and transformation.

General Questions

For over 100 years, the public health field has shared its information among its professionals and not the public:

- Of 3 million articles published yearly, only 15-20% are published in open access journals, allowing anyone in the public to view them. Johnson R, Watkinson A, Mabe M. The Stm Report: An Overview Of Scientific And Scholarly Publishing. 5th ed. The Hague: International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers; 2018. Accessed September 21, 2021.
- Among 775 researchers, 99% of research disseminated and published is through academic journals. Tabak RG, Reis RS, Wilson P, Brownson RC. Dissemination of health-related research among scientists in three countries: access to resources and current practices. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:179156. doi:10.1155/2015/179156
- Only 34% of researchers engage the public in their work. 66% do not interact with the public. Brownson RC, Jacobs JA, Tabak RG, Hoehner CM, Stamatakis KA. Designing for dissemination among public health researchers: findings from a national survey in the United States. Am J Public Health. 2013;103(9):1693-1699. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301165

As a result, the public has been left in the dark with sharing their own perspectives about their health. The failure to leverage and harness insights from people results in public health information that is not appealing or clear to the public. It also leads to a lack of communication and connection between public health researchers and the public.

However, we know that listening and learning from the ways people lead their own health is an urgent priority. The need to center people in public health discourse is more important than ever.

LIGHT is passionate about and committed to giving a voice to the public in public health. We seek to recognize, respect, and recreate how people meet their health needs. We are here and put people—"the public”—first in public health. Who is the public, you ask? That’s you. Everyone. We seek to bring back light to your health through the power and wisdom of people. We know when you, the public, are given a voice, you will transform your silence into action. - Lorde A. The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action. Sister Outsider. Trumansburg, NY: Crossing Press; 2022. p. 40-44.

LIGHT fosters youth involvement and creativity as the new generation of leaders and innovators of today’s society and digital world. We believe young people are a foundation of society, a generation more welcoming and inclusive, who are not afraid to challenge the established and reclaim their own identities.

LIGHT also believes that creativity can help to bridge the divide between the public and public health professionals. We know that public health researchers can transform their information into healing and inspiring content that resonates with the public. LIGHT works to push public health experts to think outside of the box and bring coexistence to the world we live in.

We are LIGHT – Leaders Igniting Generational Healing and Transformation. We are a group of public health researchers, artists, poets, and storytellers committed to engaging in critical dialogue about REAL dissemination of public health work to the public. By REAL, we are defined by a vision of transparency and clarity of expression that centers Real-world priorities, Equity, Accessibility, and is Lasting.

Managing Editors

Juliet Iwelunmor & Idia Thurston

Our Partners
4 Youth
In a world where the public is absent in conversations about the public’s health, a group of individuals began a mission to give voice to the most fundamental aspect of public health—the people. learn more
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LIGHT is a community of leaders, public health researchers, artists, poets, storytellers, and readers, and we welcome you to join us. Subscribe to our mailing list to receive news of our submissions and latest journal issues.

Saint Louis University, College for Public Health and Social Justice
Texas A&M University, College of Liberal Arts & School of Public Health