Fostering More-Effective Public Health by Identifying Administrative Evidence-Based Practices A Review of the Literature

Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.
American journal of preventive medicine (Impact Factor: 4.53). 09/2012; 43(3):309-19. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.06.006
Source: PubMed


The aim of evidence-based decision-making in public health involves the integration of science-based interventions with community preferences to improve population health. Although considerable literature is available on the development and adoption of evidence-based guidelines and barriers to their implementation, the evidence base specific to public health administration is less developed. This article reviews the literature from public health and related disciplines to identify administrative evidence-based practices (A-EBPs; i.e., agency-level structures and activities that are positively associated with performance measures).
A "review of reviews" was carried out to assess the evidence for the effectiveness of A-EBPs covering the time frame January 2000 through March 2012. The following steps were used: (1) select databases; (2) determine search parameters and conduct the search; (3) screen titles and abstracts; (4) obtain selected documents; (5) perform initial synthesis; (6) abstract data; and (7) synthesize evidence.
In both the reviews and original empiric studies, the most common outcome reported was performance of the local health department or local public health system. On the basis of a synthesis of data from 20 reviews, a total of 11 high-priority A-EBPs were identified (i.e., practices that local public health systems potentially can modify within a few years). The A-EBPs covered five major domains of workforce development, leadership, organizational climate and culture, relationships and partnerships, and financial processes.
As the body of practice-based research continues to grow and the ability to measure administrative evidence-based practices improves, this initial list can be further developed and improved.

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    • "Based on literature in the emerging field of dissemination and implementation research [8,9], the scale-up of effective workforce capacity-building approaches is a key need for research and practice [10]. The public health workforce is transdisciplinary by nature and represents diverse educational backgrounds and job types [11-14]. "
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