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Abstract

Part of the Community Health and Preventive Medicine Commons, Health and Medical Administration Commons, Health Policy Commons, Health Services Administration Commons, Health Services Research Commons, and the Public Health Education and Promotion Commons

Many accomplishments of public health have been distributed unevenly among populations. This article reviews the concepts of applying evidence-based practice in public health in the face of the varied cultures and circumstances of practice in these varied populations. Key components of EBPH include: making decisions based on the best available scientific evidence, using data and information systems systematically, applying program planning frameworks, engaging the community and practitioners in decision making, conducting sound evaluation, and disseminating what is learned. The usual application of these principles has over-emphasized the scientific evidence as the starting point, whereas this review suggests engaging the community and practitioners as an equally important starting point to assess their needs, assets and circumstances, which can be facilitated with program planning frameworks and use of local assessment and surveillance data.