Evidence-based decision making in public health

J Public Health Manag Pract. 1999 Sep;5(5):86-97. doi: 10.1097/00124784-199909000-00012.


A stronger focus on evidence-based decision making in day-to-day public health practice is needed. This article describes the rationale for this need, including (1) the inter-relationships between evidence-based medicine and evidence-based public health (EBPH); (2) commonly used analytic tools and processes; (3) keys to when public health action is warranted; (4) a strategic, six-step approach to more analytic decision making; and (5) summary barriers and opportunities for widespread implementation of EBPH. The approach outlined is being tested through a series of courses for mid-level managers in the Missouri Department of Health--initial results from a pilot test are encouraging. It is hoped that the greater use of an evidence-based framework in public health will lead to more effective programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Missouri
  • Public Health Practice / standards*
  • Research Design