Join our spring conference on April 17th-18th. Learn more!

Apply for the JMC Fellowship by April 1st! Learn more here.


Families, Systems, & Health® is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary journal that publishes clinical research, training, and theoretical contributions in the areas of families and health, with a particular focus on integrated care. 

Incoming Co-Editors
CR Macchi, PhD
Rodger Kessler, PhD
Outgoing Co-Editors
 Jodi Polaha, PhD
Robyn Shepardson, PhD

About the Journal

Families, Systems, & Health® is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal that publishes clinical research, training, and theoretical contributions in the intersecting areas of families, health, and system design, collectively known as Collaborative Family Healthcare.

The journal seeks scholarly manuscripts that make a contribution to the knowledge base of family function and the relationship between family function, health and health care. Further, the Journal seeks contributions examining models of collaboration between professional disciplines and system designs to effectively meet the complex healthcare needs of selected populations.The journal’s scope has three domains and our publications focus on the intersection of at least two of these domains:

Family Functioning: emphasizes understanding health, illness, and treatment from birth to death within the family context rather than focusing on individuals in isolation. The term “family” is used broadly to include but not be limited to the legal, biological, or psychological family, household members unrelated by blood or marriage, and intimates who have a relationship over time.

Systems Thinking: an overarching concept that recognizes the interrelatedness of all human systems (e.g., biological, psychological, interpersonal, familial, societal, political, economic, cultural, spiritual). This perspective is useful in examining dynamics within a profession or among clinical staff, relationships among patients, families, communities, and clinical staff, and the coordination of care across levels of the health system.Health: refers to the optimal state of the body, mind, and spirit of individuals, families, or communities. Healthcare includes the practice of all health professionals, including physicians, mental health professionals, nurses, pharmacists, and many other disciplines.Families, Systems, & Health is the official peer-reviewed journal of the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association. The goals of the journal are to:

  • To promote the awareness and inclusion of family processes in the provision of health care
  • Promote the integration of all human systems in health care training, service, and research (e.g., biological, psychological, interpersonal, familial, societal, cultural, spiritual)
  • Enrich the understanding of health, illness, and treatment across the life span
  • Explore health policy and financial models that promote family healthcare and interdisciplinary collaboration


A Brief History of the Families, Systems and Health and its relationship with the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association

In 1983, Donald Bloch, MD, founded Family Systems Medicine: A journal at the confluence of family therapy, systems theory, and modern medicine. The Journal’s subtitle reveals the relationship between the Journal’s birth and major changes in the conceptualization and delivery of health care. Two fields, Family Medicine and Family Therapy, both founded on the principles of systems theory, were emerging from their infancies. Family Systems Medicine provided a home to publish learning from this estuary of health care disciplines. The reader is referred to the inaugural editorial by Don Bloch where he eloquently describes the foundation of a journal, soon to become a field (Bloch, 1983).

In 1996, under new editors, Susan McDaniel, PhD and Thomas Campbell, MD, the Journal was renamed: Families, Systems and Health: The Journal of Collaborative Family Health Care (FSH).

This name change followed the formation of the Collaborative Family Health Care Coalition (CFHCC) in 1994 with its first national conference held in Washington, DC the following year. In their inaugural editorial, McDaniel and Campbell review the journal history and emphasize what would remain the same—a focus on the intersection of family function, systems thinking, and health care. (McDaniel & Campbell, 1996) The new journal and the new organization recognized the importance of collaboration between health care disciplines and between any health care provider and the patients and their families. Several years later, the CFHCC was renamed the Collaborative Family Health Care Association and membership included a subscription to Families Systems Health. The Journal is indexed in PsychInfo and Index Medicus. FSH consistently features articles from many CFHA members often emerging from presentations at CFHA annual meetings.

In 2008, Alexander Blount, EdD became editor and the Journal enjoyed increased submissions, special issues on timely themes, and higher numbers of articles cited in the literature. In 2013 by Colleen T. Fogarty, MD, MSc and Larry Mauksch, M.Ed became the newest editors. A review of both inaugural editorials (Blount, 2009; Fogarty & Mauksch, 2013) reveals that the journal focus has not wavered but its scope is wider. FSH publishes research, literature reviews, health policy briefs, conceptual explorations, educational and clinical models, narrative essays and poetry at the intersection of family functioning, systems thinking and health and health care.


Bloch, D. A. (1983). Family Systems Medicine: The field and the journal. Family Systems Medicine, 1(1), 3-11.

Blount, A. (2009). A vision for Families, Systems, & Health. Fam Syst Health, 27(2), 129-130.

Fogarty, C. T., & Mauksch, L. B. (2013). Inheritance and vision. Fam Syst Health, 31(3), 237-238.

McDaniel, S., & Campbell, T. (1996). Expanding our Mission. Families, Systems, and Health, 14(1), 1-4.

One of the two Editors reviews submitted manuscripts to assess quality and determine fit for the Journal. Articles sent out for peer review show potential to make a new and useful contribution to the literature.

Families, Systems, & Health has recently moved to a double-blinded review process; neither authors’ nor peer reviewers’ identities are known to each other.

The manuscript file should be anonymous and should NOT include:

  • References to the author’s previous work in the first person (I, my, we, our)
  • Author’s name in the file path or document footer
  • Author institution details
  • Author contact details
  • Author notes
  • Acknowledgements
  • Competing interests (if declared)
  • Ethics approval statements that refer to your institution

Please do NOT remove, redact or in any way anonymize references in the manuscript, including to citations your own previous work. We realize that an astute reviewer will be able to figure out who you are if you refer to your previous work, but reviewers often need to see citations supporting statements in your manuscript, especially ones that relate to the methods or help interpret your findings.

All relevant author information (the title of the manuscript along with all authors’ names and institutional affiliations) should be provided on the separate title page file (which is not sent out to reviewers).

Please ensure that tracked changes are switched off if previously used. The file will automatically be converted to PDF once uploaded through the submission system and will be available to the reviewers.

Responsibility for masking the manuscript rests with the authors; manuscripts will be returned to the author if not appropriately masked. If the manuscript is accepted, authors will be asked to make changes in wording so that the paper is no longer masked.

All accepted manuscripts are edited according to the Journal’s style and returned to the author as page proofs for approval. Authors take responsibility for all statements made in their work.

If you have any questions about our double-blind review please do not hesitate to contact the editorial office.

Authors submitting manuscripts to Families, Systems, & Health are required to provide a short statement of one to two sentences to summarize the article’s findings and significance to the educated public. This description should be included within the manuscript on the abstract/keywords page.

View Guidance for Translational Abstracts and Public Significance Statements

Each submitted manuscript must include a brief paragraph (not included in the word count), after the body of the main text and before any acknowledgments, that states each author’s contribution. Authors are welcome to utilize the contributor roles defined in the CRediT taxonomy available at