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Promoting Evidence-Based Decision Making in a Local Health Department, Pueblo City–County, Colorado
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    Evidence-based decision making (EBDM) is an effective strategy for addressing population health needs. Assessing and reducing barriers to using EBDM in local health departments may improve practice and provide insight into disseminating EBDM principles among public health practitioners.

    Community Context

    Administrative leaders at the Pueblo City–County Health Department, Pueblo, Colorado, used a systematic approach for implementing EBDM. Research partners engaged staff to understand factors that increase or deter its use.


    A survey was distributed to staff members at baseline to identify gaps in administrative and individual practice of EBDM. In-depth interviews were also conducted with 11 randomly selected staff members. Results were shared with staff and administration, after which activities were implemented to improve application of EBDM. A follow up survey was administered 1 year after the initial assessment.


    Survey data showed evidence of progress in engaging and educating staff members, and data showed improved attitudes toward EBDM (ie, several items showed significant improvement from baseline to follow-up). For example, staff members reported having the necessary skills to develop evidence-based interventions (73.9%), the ability to effectively communicate information on evidence-based strategies to policy makers (63.0%), access to current information on improving EBDM processes (65.2%), and a belief that evidence-based interventions are designed to be self-sustaining (43.5%).


    Within a local health department in which leaders have made EBDM a priority, addressing the culture and climate of the department may build EBDM. Future research may provide insight into tailoring EBDM within and across local health departments.

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