Differences in Definitions of EBPH and Evidence: Implications for Communication with Practitioners

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2014

Publication Title

Frontiers in Public Health Services and Systems Research




In this study, we interviewed twelve members of an expert panel to elicit their views on Evidence-based Public Health (EBPH), including how they define EBPH, what constitutes “evidence”, and what LHDs do that can be described as EBPH. Telephone interviews lasting 60 minutes were recorded and transcribed for basic content analysis. Experts differed in their definitions of EBPH and their views of what constitutes evidence. Definitions of EBPH ranged from the adoption and implementation of rigorously tested interventions to the application of evidence to decision making for population health improvement. Views on what constitutes evidence also varied, from strict “evidence from science” to broader “evidence from experience.” Because of these differences in meaning, our study suggests we use more concrete and specific messaging for what practitioners are expected to do.