Evidence-based public health

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See also Evidence-based health care | Evidence-Based Public Health Literature (EBPH) Review | Grey literature | Open data | Systematic review searching

"...key components of evidence-based public health include making decisions on the basis of the best available, peer-reviewed evidence, using data and information systems systematically, applying program-planning frameworks, engaging the community in decision making, conducting sound evaluation, and disseminating what is learned...." — Brownson, 2005
"...Despite 40 years of research into evidence-based policy (EBP) and a continued drive from both policymakers and researchers to increase research uptake in policy, barriers to the use of evidence are persistently identified in the literature. However, it is not clear what explains this persistence – whether they represent real factors, or if they are artefacts of approaches used to study EBP. ..." — Oliver, 2014

Public health professionals are often asked to synthesize the best health evidence in order to formulate health care policies. Evidence-based - or evidence-informed - public health is an extension of evidence-based medicine. All kinds of decisions in health care are made with little or no evidence to guide decision-makers but first the education, health and social policy literature must be thoroughly searched for the availability of previous research studies. This pathfinder or start here is meant to provide a starting point to the hundreds of websites internationally that can be used to begin a search for the grey literature in evidence-informed public health (EIPH).


" ...evidence-informed public health (EIPH) is the process of distilling and disseminating the best available evidence (whether from research, practice or experience) and using that evidence to inform and improve public health policy and practice. Put simply, it is finding, using and sharing what works in public health. Other commonly used terms for EIPH include evidence informed decision-making, evidence-based practice or evidence-based health care applied to public health practice and policy... — NCCPH, 2010

In the 21st century, public health decision-makers must evaluate policies and programs based on scientific evidence. The first step in planning policy evaluations is to determine what is known about a topic from existing evidence. Gathering evidence involves systematic literature searching. The literature provides an overview for decision-makers and informs them how policy issues might be addressed. The cumulation of evidence begins with framing research questions in the area, devising a search strategy, gathering information and data, and synthesizing the literature. Creating new intelligence and policy takes time in order to understand and define the issues affecting the programs and populations in question. How new knowledge (or, evidence) is collected and applied has a direct impact on policy-making and health outcomes.

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Who needs public health information?

Who produces public health information?

  • a range of associations, levels of government, policy-makers, community organizations, policy analysts and think-tanks
  • researchers, lobby groups, universities and academics, individuals members of the public, private organizations, to name a few

Major educational, health & policy producers

Access a wide range of information sources, including abstracts and indexes, full-text journals, electronic books, images, statistics and scientific data by using the relevant links below:

  • 4-star.gif 4 stars denotes librarian-selected, high quality information. Starred sites are great places to begin your research.
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See also Health services research & public policy

U.S. Public Health 2.0

A to M producers of evidence-informed public health (EIPH)

N to Z producers of EIPH

Indexes & databases

See 189 relevant public health databases

Other web resources in EIPH

Key / high impact journals

Finding systematic reviews in EBPH

Canadian context

  • Who are the major producers of GL in Canada?
  • What domains are most likely to produce GL, and why?
  • What organization or group is most likely to watch the development of GL?


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