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Research Objective: To identify appropriate indicators of local health department (LHD) use of EBPH strategies and factors that influence their use.

Data Sets and Sources: Transcripts of interviews with 12 members of an expert panel representing researchers and practitioners working in PHSSR and Evidence-Based Public Health.

Study Design: Participants responded to a series of questions regarding: their definition of EBPH; ways to identify and assess the use of EBPH strategies; and perceived barriers/enablers to the use of these strategies at the state and local levels.

Analysis: Content analysis performed using QSR NVivo V. 9. Data matrices were created highlighting each participant's comments related to EBPH strategies and factors influencing the use of EBPH strategies (including state level, local health department level and community level factors). Strategies were categorized based on definitions of EBPH used by participants.

Principal Findings: Two basic definitions of EBPH emerged, with one reflecting the use of data in decision-making processes, and the other reflecting the adoption of scientifically tested interventions. Factors at the state, local health department and community levels that influenced EBPH depended, in part, on the definition of EBPH used by participants.

Conclusion: LHD use of EBPH was influenced by health officer training and leadership, characteristics of the workforce, and training and technical assistance provided at the state and local levels. Familiarity with resources on tested interventions was key for one definition of EBPH. Community partnerships and competency in using data were key for others.

Implications for the Field of PHSSR: PHSSR and practice related to EBPH need to include precise definitions of terms to have meaningful discussions regarding how to encourage the use of EBPH strategies.


Reproduced with permission of the National Coordinating Center for PHSSR and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, N.J. For audio, visit the Keeneland Conference site.


Oral presentation at the 2013 Keeneland Conference on Public Health Systems and Services Research