Use of research-based information among leaders of public health agencies

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Background: Researchers have identified numerous policies and programs effective in reducing public health problems, yet many of these programs and policies have not been implemented throughout communities and states. Purpose: To assess the use of research-based information among leaders in the local public health system. Methods: We conducted a mailed survey of county commissioners and directors, and selected managers (n = 591) of all local public health agencies located in Minnesota. Results: Forty-nine percent of respondents reported not using research information in making decisions about priority areas. The most common ways of accessing research information were by: (1) reading a research article, (2) through a state/federal health agency, or (3) attending conferences. However, these methods varied from those reported as the most effective ways for accessing research information, which included: (1) having a summary of journal articles regularly sent to them, (2) having funding agencies provide research information, and (3) through a staff-prepared summary. Discussion: Findings suggest that while many agency leaders use research evidence in public health practice, there is room for improvement. Translation to Health Education Practice: To increase use of research information, effective methods for disseminating research need to be identified, evaluated, and broadly used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-70
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


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