Evidence based public health (EBPH) is the process of integrating research-based interventions with community preferences to improve the health of populations and health equity.

Ideally, public health practitioners would always incorporate scientific evidence in making management decisions, developing policies and implementing programs. In reality, these decisions are often based on short-term demands  and anecdotal evidence. Developing effective programs and policies requires specific skills, including the application of principles of scientific reasoning and systematic uses of data and information systems. This process relies on several related disciplines, including epidemiology, biostatistics, behavioral science, health communication, health care management, and health policy development. 

In 1997, the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis developed a course on EBPH to train the public health workforce in implementation of evidence-based decision making in public health. The aim of EBPH training is to build skills in applying evidence-based decision making to improve population health and advance health equity.

Originally, the training was offered in person over 3–4-days. In 2021, a 10-week online format was added.Other hybrid models of course delivery have also emerged. Through presentations, practice exercises, and case studies, the course takes an applied approach and emphasizes information that is readily available to busy practitioners. The course focuses on specific skill sets to improve public health practice as outlined in the EBPH Framework.

The course is effective in building skills and related organizational capacity in evidence-based decision making. A pooled analysis of 723 course participants from 2005-2019 showed that:

  • 83% of participants see applications for EBPH course knowledge in their work
  • 81% of participants have become a better leader who promote evidence-based decision making
  • 72% of participants make scientifically informed decisions at work