Message from the new RHM Director and Editor, Dr Shirin Heidari

9 March, 2015


Dear friends of Reproductive Health Matters,

It is a privilege to join RHM as the Journal’s new editor and director of the organisation. The honour is combined with the great responsibility attached to replacing an outstanding predecessor. Marge Berer, the founder of RHM, has been an excellent editor and a tireless advocate for sexual and reproductive rights. As she passes the torch to me, I would like to express my gratitude for the work she has done to build an influential journal, with editions in several other languages, and for her exceptional contributions to the SRHR community as Editor.

As an HIV researcher, a human rights and gender-equality activist, I am truly excited about joining RHM and am grateful for the opportunity to strengthen the health and human rights nexus. This is a critical moment to join RHM, a time when the SRHR movement is facing ongoing tensions. While we celebrate growing recognition of sexual and reproductive rights globally, we still witness harmful practices and regressive national policies in many parts of the world, reminding us that the battle is not yet over and much remains to be done. Transforming laws, influencing policies and ensuring gender-sensitive programme delivery require the support of robust evidence and joint advocacy. RHM will be an important vehicle to leverage the production and dissemination of relevant knowledge and evidence to inform advocacy and initiate change.

That’s why we need you! We need authors to publish articles that can fill the evidence gap, deepen our insights into emerging topics and provide a global overview on the status of SRHR. We need readers to distribute and disseminate articles to maximise the benefits gained from the new knowledge. We need advocates to utilise the emerging evidence as a powerful tool to promote progressive policies towards realisation of SRHR.

As I articulate these ambitions and as we make our way through this transition, I want to inform you of some preliminary changes that will enable the achievement of our long-term objectives. We have now completed the journal’s transition to electronic submission and publication. This step is accompanied by the introduction of open-choice, offering authors the option of open access publication. We are well underway with development of a new website that will enhance our visibility and facilitate access to information on our activities and achievements. These moves will utilise our time and resources more efficiently, enabling greater access, wider outreach of our publications, and a steady growth of the organisation.

I look forward to working closely with a committed team and editorial board, benefiting from the strategic guidance of our trustees, to strengthen RHM as the source of reliable evidence and as a global advocate for equal rights of women, men, intersex and transgender people to their sexual and reproductive health and well-being, regardless of age, colour, sexual orientation, gender expression, HIV, disability or any other attributes.