In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Evidence-Based Public Health Practice

  • Introduction
  • Introductory Works
  • History
  • Textbooks
  • Bibliographies
  • Journals
  • Research Databases
  • Implementation
  • Challenges
  • Training
  • Other Disciplines
  • Policy
  • Practice in Developing Countries

Public Health Evidence-Based Public Health Practice
Gilbert Ramirez
  • LAST REVIEWED: 09 September 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 February 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0127


Evidence-based public health (EBPH) practice is the informed use of evidence to guide practice decisions across the range of public health arenas. Because the nature of evidence that is relevant to the health of populations is often fraught with research challenges different from the evidence relevant to the health of individuals, the term “evidence-informed public health practice” might more accurately describe the activity that is reported in this bibliography. Growing out of the evidence-based medicine movement, as well as evidence-based strategies in other disciplines such as education, evidence-based public health practice is at best in its infancy. This bibliography of select works attempts to provide a concise but broad listing of references that would be useful toward the advancement and growth of evidence-based approaches at the public health practice level of operation. That is to say, while advances have been made in improving the quality and reporting of public health research, the translation of research into effective public health practice is a journey in progress. Similarly, there is increasing recognition of the evolution of public health research toward more policy and practice relevance.

Introductory Works

As might be expected, the infancy of evidence-based public health (EBPH) practice is reflected in the scant number of comprehensive treatises. Brownson, et al. 2003 was the first to provide a logical framework for how an evidence-based decision-making approach would operate in public health settings. Heller 2005 provides a concise reading by comparing evidence for population health to that required for individual patients. Trinder and Reynolds 2000 offers a critical appraisal of evidence-based practice across multiple disciplines. Four journal articles are included as suggested supplementary readings. Brownson, et al. 2009 addresses analytical tools that are needed in EBPH. Cid Ruzafa, et al. 1999 and Hernandez 2003 provide Spanish-language overviews of EBPH. A glossary of EBPH terminology is provided in Rychetnik, et al. 2004.

  • Brownson, R. C., E. A. Baker, T. L. Leet, and K. N. Gillespie. 2003. Evidence-based public health. Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    This seminal text provides a framework for enhancing evidence-based practice by offering practical guidance on how to choose, carry out, and evaluate evidence-based programs and policies in public health settings.

  • Brownson, R. C., J. E. Fielding, and C. M. Maylahn. 2009. Evidence-based public health: A fundamental concept for public health practice. Annual Review of Public Health 30:175–201.

    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.031308.100134

    Calls attention to the concept of EBPH and its need to better integrate evidence with practice. Addresses the analytic tools needed to accelerate the spotlight on EBPH, such as systematic reviews and the challenges of EBPH.

  • Cid Ruzafa, J., F. Rodriguez Artalejo, and J. M. Martin Moreno. 1999. Hacia una salud publica basada en la evidencia? Medicina Clinica 112.Suppl. 1: 106–110.

    This paper provides an overview of evidence-based public health definition, its aims, and methods to appraise evidence.

  • Heller, R. F. 2005. Evidence for population health. Oxford and New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    Proposes the idea of how “evidence for population health” aims to improve the health of communities in an effective and efficient manner compared to how evidence-based medicine focuses only on individual patients.

  • Hernandez, L. J. 2003. Que es la salud publica basada en la evidencia? Revista De Salud Publica (Bogota, Colombia) 5.1: 40–45.

    This paper defines evidence-based public health and its goals, briefly summarizes two types of evidence, and discusses the relevance of research designs in collections of evidence.

  • Rychetnik, L., P. Hawe, E. Waters, A. Barratt, and M. Frommer. 2004. A glossary for evidence based public health. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 58.7: 538–545.

    DOI: 10.1136/jech.2003.011585

    Defines and explains concepts whose understanding is essential for implementing evidence-based practice in public health. This document is a compilation of published works, analysis, and discussions among researchers, practitioners, and public health students.

  • Trinder, L., and S. Reynolds. 2000. Evidence-based practice: A critical appraisal. Oxford and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

    Discusses the emergence and expansion of evidence-based practice in fields such as medicine, nursing, mental health, education, and social welfare. Also critically appraises the strengths and weaknesses of evidence-based practice and takes a look at the consequences of not basing practice on research.

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