Capacity is Crucial for Evidence-Based Public Health

Faculty; Public Health; Research

Public health organizations need resources, structures and trained workforce to better move science into practice, according to a year-end review of the field from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles; and the Department of Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco.

Ross Brownson

While practitioners and scientists largely agree on the importance of evidence-based approaches to public health, less clear are the definitions of evidence and how best to use it to improve health. The capacity of individuals and organizations to make the most effective use of evidence can be strengthened with training, tools technical assistance and feedback, according to the authors.

“Timely implementation of principles of evidence-based public health is critical for bridging the gap between discovery of new knowledge and its application,” wrote the lead author, Dr. Ross Brownson, Bernard Becker Professor at the Brown School. “Modest investments in capacity building will foster more effective public health practice.” Co-authors were Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding of UCLA and Lawrence W. Green of UCSF.

The review was published online Nov. 20 in the Annual Review of Public Health.  Read more.