State and local health departments are well positioned to control chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, but it often takes 15 – 20 years before research findings are incorporated into practice.
[Photo: Dr. Ross Brownson]
In a 12-state study, one of the first of its kind, researchers at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis trained staff in six state health departments on evidence-based decision making skills such as action planning and communicating research to policy makers.
Staff who received the training exhibited significant improvement in individual skills compared to the control group. Except for access to evidence and resources for evidence-based decision making, the training and follow-up did not improve organizational capacity significantly, a result that researchers suggested would require a longer-term commitment.
“Our findings suggest several dissemination interventions that should be considered by practitioners as they seek to apply evidence-based decision making in their agencies to ultimately benefit the populations they serve,” wrote the study’s lead author, Dr. Ross Brownson, Bernard Becker Professor at the Brown School.
The study was published November 30 in Preventing Chronic Disease.