Training practitioners in evidence-based chronic disease prevention for global health

Promot Educ. 2007;14(3):159-63.


Too often, public health decisions are based on short-term demands rather than long-term research and objectives. Policies and programmes are sometimes developed around anecdotal evidence. The Evidence-Based Public Health (EBPH) programme trains public health practitioners to use a comprehensive, scientific approach when developing and evaluating chronic disease programmes. Begun in 2002, the EBPH programme is an international collaboration. The course is organized in seven parts to teach skills in: 1) assessing a community's needs; 2) quantifying the issue; 3) developing a concise statement of the issue; 4) determining what is known about the issue by reviewing the scientific literature; 5) developing and prioritizing programme and policy options; 6) developing an action plan and implementing interventions; and 7) evaluating the programme or policy. The course takes an applied approach and emphasizes information that is readily available to busy practitioners, relying on experiential learning and includes lectures, practice exercises, and case studies. It focuses n using evidence-based tools and encourages participants to add to the evidence base in areas where intervention knowledge is sparse. Through this training programme, we educated practitioners from 38 countries in 4 continents. This article describes the evolution of the parent course and describes experiences implementing the course in the Russian Federation, Lithuania, and Chile. Lessons learned from replication of the course include the need to build a "critical mass" of public health officials trained in EBPH within each country and the importance of international, collaborative networks. Scientific and technologic advances provide unprecedented opportunities for public health professionals to enhance the practice of EBPH. To take full advantage of new technology and tools and to combat new health challenges, public health practitioners must continually improve their skills.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control*
  • Education, Public Health Professional / methods*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / education*
  • Global Health
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Preventive Medicine / methods