Access, Funding, Training Key to Evidence-Based Practice

Community Engagement; Public Health

Access to evidence, partnerships, and funding restrictions were the commonly cited barriers to the use of evidence-based decision making in public health departments, according to research from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. Training and communication by leadership were important steps toward more effective use of evidence.

Researchers conducted qualitative interviews with 27 chronic disease prevention and health promotion program staff in four states who were members of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors

All practitioners said their work unit leadership encouraged and expected staff to use evidence-based processes. They saw the provision of training and technical assistance as key to workforce development and effective communication of leaders’  expectations. Access to evidence and limited funding were among the impediments to evidence-based public health.

“The results of this study highlight practitioners’ perspectives on promoting evidence-based public health in their departments,” wrote the study’s lead author Stephanie Mazzucca, research assistant professor at the Brown School. “Findings can inform the development and refinement of resources to improve the use of evidence-based practices A-and organizational and leadership capacity of state health departments.”

The paper was published February 25 in Implementation Science Communications.