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Ann Epidemiol. 2005 Aug;15(7):540-4.

Teaching evidence-based public health to public health practitioners.

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  • 1Prevention Research Center, Saint Louis University School of Public Health, St. Louis, MO 63104, USA.



The purpose of the Evidence Based Public Health (EBPH) course is to train public health practitioners to utilize a comprehensive approach for program development and evaluation from a scientific perspective, including principles of scientific reasoning and systematic uses of data and information systems. The increasing technical sophistication of public health problems and approaches emphasizes the importance for an evidence-based approach to developing policy and interventions.


The training methods used highlight the linkages between data systems and program/policy initiatives. Participants learn to access and interpret existing data systems and methods of using data to impact specific policies or decision-makers. From 1992 through mid-2004 the EBPH course was offered a total of 20 times, in Missouri, nationally and internationally. In March 2002, the workshop was taped and pressed into a 16-CD set that public health workers can use as a self-teaching program in their own homes and offices. The group exercises from the classroom workshop have been adapted into individual self-guided applications, and background readings are included in the set.


Compiled results of course evaluations indicate average ratings for course satisfaction ranging from 8.50 to 10.00 on a scale from 1 to 10. Satisfaction with course instructors ranged between 8.00 and 10.00 on the same scale. Ninety-four to ninety-six per cent of participants reported that they would use the course in their day-to-day work. Qualitative comments from participants at the time of and after the course show that the material is applied in a variety of ways.


The EBPH course is making a valuable contribution in strengthening the application of scientific methods to public health practice. To expand the offerings of this training, a train-the-trainer component for the EBPH course is being developed, to be made available in 2005.

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