Scaling Up Evidence-Based Public Health Training

Public Health

Committed trainers, leadership support, and funding were among the key factors leading to successful training of public health staff in evidence-based public health (EBPH), according to a new report from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

To reach a wider audience, faculty and staff at the Prevention Research Center at the Brown School conduct a “train-the-trainer” version of the center’s EBPH course to build states’ capacity to train more staff. For this report, the center identified sites that had received the training and then replicated it. They included state health departments, state or regional public health training centers, and schools of public health; the training reached practitioners in 17 states. Training coordinators were then interviewed and asked about their training methods and lessons learned.

Success factors for sustainability included having committed and competent coordinators and trainers; organizational incentives; leadership support; funding; internal and external collaborators; the infrastructure to support training; and models to learn from. Barriers included insufficient staff or training capacity; time constraints for organizers, trainers and participants; and lack of sustained funding.

The training methods and results are reported in an essay in the November issue of Preventing Chronic Disease.

“We hope our experience and findings will be a guide for states that are committed to building and sustaining capacity through continued EBPH training,” wrote co-authors Peg Allen, research assistant professor, and Carol A. Brownson, public health specialist at the Prevention Research Center. “Our lessons may also apply more generally to other workforce development training efforts.”

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