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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: How Public Health Evidence is Provided Can Increase its Use

Tailoring the way public-health evidence is delivered to different audiences can increase the use of research in evidence-based decision making, according to a new study by the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

[Photo: Dr. Peg Allen]

Researchers surveyed 1,237 staff from 12 state health departments and their partnering agencies. They found that health department staff preferred getting information through avenues such as Webinars, workshops and policy briefs. Those in universities and healthcare facilities preferred academic journals.

Staff who believed their organizations prioritized evidence in decision making were also more likely to use it.

“More tailoring of research evidence dissemination to reach partnering organizations is needed,” concluded Dr. Peg Allen, a co-author and research assistant professor at the Brown School. “Additional efforts to build organizational cultures and structures that support routine research evidence use are needed, especially within partner organizations and health departments lacking staff with advanced public health training.”

The paper was published in the March 2017 American Journal of Preventive Medicine.