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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: Wasted Resources, Missed Opportunities in Public Health

A significant number of staff in state and local health departments report that programs either end when they should continue or continue when they should end, according to new research from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

[Photo: Dr. Ross C. Brownson]

Researchers surveyed 944 public health practitioners from state and local health departments and key partner agencies.

Between 36 percent and 42 percent of respondents said effective programs were ended, while 24-29 percent said ineffective programs continued.  The reasons for programs ending included funding cessation and policy changes.

The study was the first to report data on program mis-implementation – the de-adoption of effective programs, policies or other interventions that should continue; and the continuation of ineffective interventions.

“The data suggest a need to focus on mis-implementation in public health practice in order to make the best use of scarce resources,” wrote the lead author, Dr. Ross C. Brownson, Bernard Becker Professor at the Brown School.

The study was published in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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