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Can J Public Health. 2009 Jan-Feb;100(1):Suppl I8-14.

What is population health intervention research?

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Population Health Intervention Research Centre, University of Calgary, G012, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4N1.


Population-level health interventions are policies or programs that shift the distribution of health risk by addressing the underlying social, economic and environmental conditions. These interventions might be programs or policies designed and developed in the health sector, but they are more likely to be in sectors elsewhere, such as education, housing or employment. Population health intervention research attempts to capture the value and differential effect of these interventions, the processes by which they bring about change and the contexts within which they work best. In health research, unhelpful distinctions maintained in the past between research and evaluation have retarded the development of knowledge and led to patchy evidence about policies and programs. Myths about what can and cannot be achieved within community-level intervention research have similarly held the field back. The pathway forward integrates systematic inquiry approaches from a variety of disciplines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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