Chapter

Assessing Scientific Evidence for Public Health Action

Ross C. Brownson, Elizabeth A. Baker, Terry L. Leet, Kathleen N. Gillespie and William R. True

in Evidence-Based Public Health

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195397895
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199827183 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195397895.003.0002
Assessing Scientific Evidence for Public Health Action

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  • Public Health and Epidemiology
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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

Chapter.  9406 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Medical Statistics and Methodology

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