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Improving the Public Health Workforce: Evaluation of a Training Course to Enhance EvidenceBased Decision Making

Dreisinger, Mariah BA; Leet, Terry L. PhD; Baker, Elizabeth A. PhD; Gillespie, Kathleen N. PhD; Haas, Beth MPH; Brownson, Ross C. PhD

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice:
doi: 10.1097/01.PHH.0000311891.73078.50
Article
Abstract

An evidence-based public health (EBPH) course was developed in 1997 by the Prevention Research Center at Saint Louis University School of Public Health to train the public health workforce to enhance dissemination of EBPH in their public health practice. An on-line evaluation of the course was conducted among participants who attended the course from 2001 to 2004 to determine the impact the course had on the implementation of EBPH within their Respective public health agencies (n = 107). The majority of these individuals were program directors, managers, or coordinators working in state health departments. Results from the evaluation Revealed that 90 percent of participants indicated that the course helped them make more informed decisions in the workplace. Respondents identified improvement in their ability to communicate with their coworkers and Read Reports. When asked to identify potential barriers, participants specified that time constraints were the biggest impediment to using EBPH skills in the workplace. These data suggest the importance of professional training opportunities in EBPH for public health practitioners. Future endeavors should focus on overcoming the barriers to the dissemination of EBPH.

In Brief

This article shows the importance of professional training opportunities in evidence-based public health for public healthcare practitioners and improvement.

Author Information

Mariah Dreisinger, BA, is Research Assistant, Department of Community Health, School of Public Health, Saint Louis University, St Louis, Missouri.

Terry L. Leet, PhD, is Associate Professor, Department of Community Health, School of Public Health, Saint Louis University, St Louis, Missouri.

Elizabeth A. Baker, PhD, is Associate Professor, Department of Community Health, School of Public Health, Saint Louis University, St Louis, Missouri

Kathleen N. Gillespie, PhD, is Associate Professor, Department of Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health, Saint Louis University, St Louis, Missouri.

Beth Haas, MPH, is Research Assistant, Department of Community Health, School of Public Health, Saint Louis University, St Louis, Missouri.

Ross C. Brownson, PhD, is Professor, Department of Community Health, and is Director, Prevention Research Center, School of Public Health, Saint Louis University, St Louis, Missouri.

Corresponding Author: Mariah Dreisinger, BA, School of Public Health, Saint Louis University, 3545 Lafayette Ave, St Louis, MO 63104 (mdreisin@slu.edu).

This study was funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contract U48/DP000060 (Prevention Research Centers Program), the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, the directors of Health Promotion and Education, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The authors also appreciate the financial support from CINDI Austria and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. The authors appreciate the leadership of Garland Land and the Research assistants who were involved in organizing this course: Laura Caisley, Carolyn Harris, Lori Hattan, and Leslie McIntosh.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.