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Ann Epidemiol. 2012 Jun;22(6):413-6. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2012.04.004.

How do we more effectively move epidemiology into policy action?

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Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton Clinic Health Academy, Canada.


A major focus of the American College of Epidemiology's Policy Committee has been to review the translation of epidemiologic evidence into policy by developing case studies. This article summarizes crosscutting policy process lessons across the eight cases developed to date through two workshops held in 2009 and 2011. A framework for evidence-based public health policy has emerged to suggest that process, content, and outcomes are all needed to help move policy forward. The most readily and apparent contributions from epidemiologists are towards content and outcomes activities, and although this is apparent in all of the case studies presented, much of the 2011 workshop discussion focused on six process issues. Policy and process issues are not well incorporated into current epidemiologic training, and controversy remains over the role of the epidemiologist as an advocate for policy changes. As these case studies show, epidemiologic evidence impacts policy to address emerging public health problems, yet few epidemiologists are formally trained in the domains to support policy development. As we continue to learn from current policy efforts, we encourage the incorporation of these case studies and the emerging experience within epidemiologic training programs.

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