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October 2013

In their first editorial since Dr. Larry Peiperl joined the journal as Chief Editor, the PLOS Medicine editors call for greater attention to the health of poor people in rich countries. The editors argue that income disparities in wealthy countries are a stronger determinant of health than country-level aggregate measures such as GDP or per capita income. As rich countries with wide income disparities, such as the United States, address the need to rein in health-care costs and at the same time improve health disparities, knowledge gained in resource-limited settings, regardless of the host country's overall wealth, gain increasingly global relevance. The universal availability of such knowledge in the peer-reviewed literature without subscription-fee or copyright barriers is essential to improving health. The editors conclude that, as part of a commitment to global issues in health, Open-Access medical journals should take the lead in prioritizing research on the health problems of lower-income people in high- as well as low-income countries. They note that "whether performed in poorer or richer countries, research on diseases that disproportionately affect poor people is increasingly relevant across all countries."

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