Evidence-based decision making in public health


A stronger focus on evidence-based decision making in day-to-day public health practice is needed. This article describes the rationale for this need, including (1) the inter-relationships between evidence-based medicine and evidence-based public health (EBPH); (2) commonly used analytic tools and processes; (3) keys to when public health action is warranted; (4) a strategic, six-step approach to more analytic decision making; and (5) summary barriers and opportunities for widespread implementation of EBPH. The approach outlined is being tested through a series of courses for mid-level managers in the Missouri Department of Health—initial results from a pilot test are encouraging. It is hoped that the greater use of an evidence-based framework in public health will lead to more effective programs. © 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

Publication Title

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice