Awareness of evidence-based decision making and the capacity to apply it were among the key organizational supports required by local health departments to put evidence into practice, according to a new study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.
Researchers surveyed 376 practitioners in local health departments across the United States. In addition to awareness and capacity, the practitioners reported that access to evidence, resource availability and organizational culture were important to enable them to use evidence in their work.
“Results of this study can be used to understand and enhance organizational processes and structures to support evidence-based decision making to improve the performance of local health departments and population health,” wrote the lead author, Dr. Stephanie Mazzucca, assistant professor at the Brown School.
“While it will require a significant, long-term commitment from health-department leaders, building organizational capacity for evidence-based decision making is crucial for health departments to fulfill their role in population-level chronic disease control.”
The study was published on-line January 8 in the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice.