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Evidence-Based Public Health$
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Ross C. Brownson, Elizabeth A. Baker, Terry L. Left, Kathleen N. Gillespie, and William R. True

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195397895

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195397895.001.0001

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Assessing Scientific Evidence for Public Health Action

Assessing Scientific Evidence for Public Health Action

Chapter:
(p.35) 2 Assessing Scientific Evidence for Public Health Action
Source:
Evidence-Based Public Health
Author(s):

Ross C. Brownson

Elizabeth A. Baker

Terry L. Leet

Kathleen N. Gillespie

William R. True

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195397895.003.0002

In most areas of public health and clinical practice, decisions on when to intervene and which program or policy to implement are not simple and straightforward. These decisions are often based on three fundamental questions: (1) Should public health action be taken to address a particular public health issue (Type 1, etiologic evidence)? (2) What action should be taken (Type 2, intervention evidence)? (3) How can a particular program or policy most effectively be implemented in a local setting (Type 3, contextual evidence)? This chapter primarily explores the first and second questions. That is, it focuses on several key considerations in evaluating scientific evidence and determining when a scientific basis exists for some type of public health action. It deals largely with the interpretation of epidemiologic studies that seek to identify health risks and intervention programs and policies that seek to improve population health.

Keywords:   public health practice, evidence-based public health, epidemiologic studies, intervention programs, public health programs

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