In 2022, the Pan American Health Organization celebrated its 120th anniversary. The countries of the Americas recognized early on the need to "organize a united front against the spread of epidemics and infectious diseases" and in 1902 they created the Pan American Sanitary Bureau–later renamed the Pan American Health Organization–which also became the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization.
During its 120 years of existence, the Organization and its Member States have worked in coordination not only to address infectious diseases, such as measles, polio and rubella, but also to tackle non-communicable diseases, such as tobacco use, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
At the same time, the newly created Organization recognized the fundamental role of cooperation and information sharing in advancing toward its health objectives, and in 1920 it was decided to publish a monthly bulletin to exchange scientific information among the countries of the Region. Thus, in May 1922, the first issue of the Pan American Sanitary Bulletin, the precursor of today's Pan American Journal of Public Health, was published. The first issue of the Bulletin presented a topic as relevant then as it is today, "the importance of sanitary cooperation among nations".
This special issue commemorates 120 years of the Pan American Health Organization and 100 years of the Pan American Journal of Public Health. The history of the journal reflects that of the Organization and the evolution of key health topics over the last century. The manuscripts included in this special issue present an overview of health achievements in the Region of the Americas and the challenges that still need to be addressed in the future.