1. Hamm, Larry F. PhD, MAACVPR, FACSM
  2. Editor-in-Chief

Article Content

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) held a meeting, "Rehabilitation 2030: A Call for Action," at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting was attended by over 200 health care professionals, researchers, rehabilitation advocates, and representatives from governmental agencies and professional associations from around the world. The primary objectives of the meeting were: (1) to increase awareness about the substantial and ever-increasing unmet need for rehabilitation worldwide and (2) to call for coordinated and concerted global action towards strengthening rehabilitation services in health systems.


As stated by the WHO, "... journals are important cultivators and distributors of knowledge and evidence, and therefore constitute a critical stakeholder group in the field of rehabilitation." As editor of JCRP, I was able to attend the meeting as a representative of JCRP and AACVPR. About 12 other journal editors were in attendance, and we had the opportunity to meet as a group during the conference.


The WHO press release summarizing the meeting recognized the need for more rehabilitation services worldwide. An excerpt from that press release notes that:


"Globally, there is a substantial increase in the need for rehabilitation worldwide, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Ageing populations and the rise of noncommunicable diseases, like cardiovascular disease and cancer, and injuries combined with historically underdeveloped and poorly coordinated rehabilitation services mean that these needs are often unmet. Today, for example, the prevalence of severely disabling conditions that require rehabilitation has increased by nearly 183 million compared to 2005 - a 23% increase in just over a decade."


It was also interesting to note that the WHO call to action includes an emphasis on, "... building comprehensive service delivery models, developing a strong multidisciplinary workforce, expanding financing mechanisms and enhancing health information systems" and "incorporating rehabilitation into universal health coverage." This statement is closely aligned with past and current efforts of AACVPR and its partnering societies in regard to: investigating new and innovative rehabilitation delivery models; providing important educational opportunities and certifications for health care professionals and programs; undertaking international outreach to increase availability of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation in other countries; lobbying to increase reimbursement and improve insurance coverage for our rehabilitation services; and developing clinical databases and standardized outcomes to help define and support practice.


While cardiopulmonary disease and rehabilitation were not a specific focus of this meeting, it is encouraging that the WHO has recognized the need to have a worldwide emphasis on rehabilitation and noncommunicable chronic diseases. I encourage researchers to continue to investigate new and interesting research questions related to cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and the JCPR editorial team will be committed to working diligently to publish research that helps advance our field.


For anyone interested in further information about the WHO rehabilitation initiative, please visit the following website:


Larry F. Hamm, PhD, MAACVPR, FACSM




Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention