AIM-Local Health

Project Dates: 2016-2022

Purpose: To increase the use of proven strategies for chronic disease control among local health departments (LHDs) to improve community health and reduce the burden of chronic diseases.

Project Goals

  • Understand factors influencing use of evidence-based practice and evidence-based programs and policies (EBPPs) for chronic disease control across LHDs; identify gaps to be addressed
  • Facilitate use of evidence-based practice and EBPPs among LHDs:
    • Provide menu of capacity-building activities based on local context including : trainings in evidence-based public health, technical assistance through knowledge brokers, targeted messages with resources, and organizational change strategies
    • Bridge research and public health practice
  • Advance practice, and dissemination and implementation research by communicating findings through traditional and non-traditional methods

Findings & Recommendations

Local health departments found these key in supporting evidence-based decision-making (EBDM):

  • Develop leadership team support
  • Build a foundation for EBDM through a supportive culture and ongoing training
  • Start small via champions, roll out new or modified procedures slowly
  • Note benefits and impacts of process changes with agency staff
  • Share ideas and impacts with other LHDs

Project Contact


Project Staff

Principal Investigator: Ross C. Brownson, PhD

Co-Investigators: Peg Allen, PhD, MPH, RNRachel Tabak, PhD, RD; Stephanie Mazzucca, PhDRebekah Jacob, MSW, MPHYan Yan, MD, PhD; Elizabeth Baker, PhD, MPH; Marshall Chin, MD, MPH; Maureen Dobbins, PhD; Katie Stamatakis, PhD, MPH

Project Manager: Renee Parks, MS

Project Partners

12 local health departments in Missouri that participated; National Association of County & County Health Officials (NACCHO); Missouri Association of Local Public Health Agencies (MoALPHA); Brown School Evaluation Center

Funding Source

National Institutes of Health: R01DK109913

Related Resources

Webinars: Evaluation Skill-Building Series

Goal: Build public health practitioners’ skills in developing/strengthening evaluation plans.
Six webinars, each 1 hour or less. Designed as a series with content building upon each webinar; however, webinars may also be viewed independently.

Research Briefs

Ways Local Health Departments Can Encourage Evidence-Based Decision Making

Ways LHDs Can Encourage EBDM Infographic

Our team conducted a multi-year project with local health departments to build EBDM. The project included a multi-day evidence-based decision-making training followed by customized technical assistance, support and information resources. Here are some of the project findings and recommendations from participating local health departments.

National Survey Summary Infographic

From Aug.-Sept. 2017, our research team administered a survey of public health practitioners leading chronic disease control from local health departments (LHDs) across the United States to obtain a national picture of local-level views on and use of evidence-based programs for chronic disease control, and skills and supports for evidence-based practices. This infographic summarizes the findings.

Local Health Directors’ & Practitioners’ Views of Use of Evidence-based Chronic Disease Control

In Jan.-Apr. 2017, our research team conducted phone interviews with local health directors and practitioners from local health departments (LHDs) in Missouri to understand factors supporting or hindering use of evidence-based chronic disease control. This infographic summarizes the findings.


Allen, P., Parks, R. G., Kang, S. J., Dekker, D., Jacob, R. R., Mazzucca-Ragan, S., & Brownson, R. C. (2023). Practices Among Local Public Health Agencies to Support Evidence-Based Decision Making: A Qualitative StudyJournal of public health management and practice : JPHMP29(2), 213–225.

Jacob R. R., Parks R. G., Allen P., Mazzucca S., Yan Y., Kang S., Dekker D., Brownson R. C. (2022). How to “start small and just keep moving forward”: Mixed methods results from a stepped-wedge trial to support evidence-based processes in local health departments. Frontiers in Public Health, 10: 853791.

Allen, P., Jacob, R. R., Parks, R. G., Mazzucca, S., Hu, H., Robinson, M., Dobbins, M., Dekker, D., Padek, M., Brownson, R. C. (2020). Perspectives on program mis-implementation among U.S. local public health departmentsBMC health services research, 20, 258.

Poehler, A. R., Parks, R. G., Tabak, R. G., Baker, E. A., Brownson, R. C. (2019). Factors Facilitating or Hindering Use of Evidence-Based Diabetes Interventions Among Local Health Departments. Journal of public health management and practice, volume publish ahead of print – issue. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000001094

Allen, P., Mazzucca, S., Parks, R. G., Robinson, M., Tabak, R. G., & Brownson, R. (2019). Local Health Department Accreditation Is Associated With Organizational Supports for Evidence-Based Decision MakingFrontiers in public health7, 374.

Mazzucca, S., Parks, R. G., Tabak, R. G., Allen, P., Dobbins, M., Stamatakis, K. A., Brownson, R. C. (2019). Assessing Organizational Supports for Evidence-Based Decision Making in Local Public Health Departments in the United States: Development and Psychometric Properties of a New MeasureJournal of public health management and practice, 25 (5), 454-463doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000952

Erwin, P. C., Parks, R. G., Mazzucca, S., Allen, P., Baker, E. A., Hu, H., Davis-Joyce, J., & Brownson, R. C. (2019). Evidence-Based Public Health Provided Through Local Health Departments: Importance of Academic-Practice PartnershipsAmerican journal of public health109(5), 739–747.

Tabak, R. G., Parks, R. G., Allen, P., Jacob, R. R., Mazzucca, S., Stamatakis, K. A., Poehler, A. R., Chin, M. H., Dobbins, M., Dekker, D., & Brownson, R. C. (2018). Patterns and correlates of use of evidence-based interventions to control diabetes by local health departments across the USABMJ open diabetes research & care6(1), e000558.

Parks RG, Tabak RG, Allen P, Baker EA, Stamatakis KA, Poehler AR, Yan Y, Chin MH, Harris JK, Dobbins M, Brownson RC. Enhancing evidence-based diabetes and chronic disease control among local health departments: a multi-phase dissemination study with a stepped-wedge cluster randomized trial component. Implementation Science. October 18 2017;12(1):122.