Publications

Improving North Carolina's Health: Applying Evidence for Success (2012)

Abstract

The Division of Public Health and local health departments can help improve the health and well-being of North Carolinians by increasing efforts to provide evidence-based programs, policies, and clinical interventions. The NCIOM Task Force on Implementing Evidence-Based Strategies in Public Health was charged with developing recommendations to assist public health professionals in the identification and implementation of evidence-based strategies within their communities to improve population health. Funding support for the Task Force was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Public Health Improvement Initiative. This report summarizes the findings of the Task Force and their recommendations on how to increase the use of EBSs in public health.

Full Description

In North Carolina, the Division of Public Health (DPH) and the local health departments (LHDs) are charged with working in partnership to “promote and contribute to the highest level of health possible for the people of North Carolina. ” To fulfill this mission, DPH and LHDs are tasked with preventing health risks and disease; promoting healthy lifestyles; promoting a safe and healthful environment; promoting the availability and accessibility of quality health care services through the private sector or directly if not otherwise available. To accomplish this with limited financial resources requires public health practitioners to find ways to optimize the impact of their work. Incorporating scientific evidence about what works into management decisions, program implementation, clinical services, and policy development, is one way to do this.

Evidence-based strategies (EBSs) include programs, clinical interventions, and policies that have been evaluated and shown to have positive outcomes. Using evidence-based strategies (EBSs) in public health yields many benefits including increasing the likelihood that programs, clinical interventions, and policies implemented at the state or local level will be successful, and increasing public resource efficiency. However, selecting, implementing, and evaluating EBSs is not a simple process. Selecting, implementing, and evaluating EBSs often requires skills, knowledge, and resources that LHDs may not currently have. Therefore there is a need for education, training, and other support to help LHDs increase the use of EBSs.

Improving North Carolina’s Health: Applying Evidence for Success, the report of the Task Force on Implementing Evidence-Based Strategies in Public Health, presents a way to improve the health of North Carolinians that can occur if DPH and LHDs, as well as other state partners, work together collaboratively to effectively select, implement, and evaluate EBSs. The Task Force on Implementing Evidence-Based Strategies in Public Health developed strategies that provide a roadmap for how DPH, LHDs, and other state and national partners can work together to facilitate the adoption or expansion of EBSs by LHDs, with the goal of improving HNC 2020 health outcomes in local communities. By working together to make such changes, DPH, LHDs, and other partners can help make North Carolina a healthier state.