Identifying and Using Evidence-Based/Informed Resources to Address MCH Issues
Quality improvement and the need for evidence-based programming and policymaking continue to be a top priority for states as they work towards achieving the Healthy People 2020 objectives to improve health outcomes for women, children, and families. Generally speaking, the term “evidence” refers to information that has been systematically obtained in a manner that is replicable, observable, and verifiable. This type of evidence is often published in the scientific literature. However, there are other important domains of evidence to consider within the broad environmental and organizational context. To achieve the best possible health outcomes, the MCH workforce will need to examine experiential and contextual forms of evidence, drawing on the collective experiences and expertise of multiple stakeholders while taking into consideration the unique characteristics of their own communities.
In terms of public health interventions, evidence typically refers to the effectiveness of programs or initiatives aimed at improving the health of a population in a measurable way. The application of evidence-based public health interventions is relatively new, and yet the focus has already expanded beyond the scientific research to address practical considerations. The interventions published in the scientific literature – typically conducted in academic or research settings -- are not necessarily replicable at a local level. In community-based settings, the absence of personnel, lack of resources, financial constraints, and other concerns may pose challenges to conducting or evaluating an intervention.
This resource brief provides links to selected trainings and related tools on the topic of evidence-based and informed resources to address MCH issues. It is one in a set of MCH Navigator resources developed to support the MCH workforce’s efforts to improve access to health care; use quality improvement tools to guide effective transformation; foster integration within public health and across sectors; support change management that will result in health improvements for MCH populations; and enhance training and networking opportunities.
See also the National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health's (NCEMCH's) collection of Evidence Briefs that present evidence-based/informed programs and resources for use by state Title V agencies.
Table of Contents
Trainings from the MCH Navigator
- AMCHP-CDC Skills Building Suite:Evidence-Based Practice–Moving Along the Continuum from Selection to Sustainability. Date Developed: 2013. Source: Association of Maternal and Child Health Program. Presenters: Starr Banks, M.P.H., Cherie Rooks-Peck, Ph.D., R.D., L.D., Kathi Wilson, Ph.D., M.P.H., C.H.E.S. Type: Webinar Archive. Length: 3 sessions, 90 min. each. Special Instructions: This webinar is located approximately 2/3 the way down the page. You will need to scroll down to access materials.
- Evidence-Based Public Health Practice. Developed: Unknown. Source: Ohio State University, Center for Public Health Practice. Type: Online Course. Length: Self-Paced.
- Evidence-Based Public Health Training Series. Developed: 2017. Source: Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, University of Washington. Presenters: Series, varies. Type: Online Course. Length: 10 hours.
- Introduction to Evidenced-Based Public Health. Developed: 2013. Source: Northwest Center for Public Health Practice. Presenter: Jeffrey Harris, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. Type: Webinar Archive. Length: 60 min.
- Introduction to Evidence-Informed Decision Making. Developed: Unknown. Source: National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools. Type: Interactive Modules. Length: Self-Paced.
- The Role and Use of Evidence in Policy. Developed: Unknown. Source: Wisconsin Center for Public Health Education and Training. Presenter: Elizabeth Feder, Ph.D. Type: Online Course. Length: 120 min.
- Searching for Research Evidence in Public Health. Date Developed: Unknown. Source: National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools. Type: Interactive Modules. Length: Self-Paced.
- Understanding Evidence. Developed: 2013. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Violence Prevention. Type: Interactive Modules. Length: Self-Paced.
- Understanding Research Evidence. Developed: 2014. Source: National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools. Type: 19 Online Videos. Length: Self-Paced.
Other Professional Trainings
Resources from NCEMCH
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Evidence Project proposes a comprehensive framework for understanding evidence and evidence-based decision making that includes three types of evidence (best available research evidence, contextual evidence, and experiential evidence). The following documents provide more information about the framework for thinking about evidence.
- Expanding the evidence universe: Doing better by knowing more. 2011. Produced by the Center for the Study of Social Policy. This paper provides recommendations related to expanding the knowledge base necessary to improve outcomes for children, families and communities. Written for discussion during the Harold Richman Public Policy Symposium, the authors propose a five-part set of concrete actions that the philanthropic, public, nonprofit, academic, business, and entrepreneurial sectors can take to build a wider and deeper evidence base.
- A Guide to Evidence-Based Programs for Adolescent Health: Programs, Tools, and More. (2014). Produced by the National Adolescent and Young Adult Health Information Center. This guide for health professionals and communities contains an annotated list of resources and accompanying tools for implementing evidence-based adolescent health programs. The guide defines evidence-based programs, explains how they are used, and identifies limitations of existing programs. The resources in the guide are organized by health topics adapted from the focus areas of the Healthy People 2020 Core Indicators for Adolescent and Young Adult Health. [Funded by the U.S. Maternal and Child Health Bureau]
- Mathematica Center for Improving Research Evidence (CIRE)provides expertise in designing, conducting, and using a range of scientific research and evaluation approaches in varied settings. CIRE disseminates information to help clients understand what types of questions different research methods can and cannot address. CIRE also uses transparent and scientific standards to assess and improve the quality of research methods.
- A Roadmap for State Policymakers to Use Comparative Effectiveness and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research to Inform Decision Making. (2014). Produced by the National Academy for State Health Policy. This guide is designed to help policymakers with varying levels of experience understand and use comparative effectiveness research (CER) and patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR). Contents include a legend to orient those new to CER and PCOR and steps for using this research in state policymaking. Topics include identifying when CER and PCOR can inform policymaking, finding research and other relevant resources, evaluating the evidence, using the evidence to design program or policy, communicating and disseminating the decision, and monitoring and evaluating new research as it becomes available. Case studies and sample applications for each step are included. The appendices contain additional sources of research, guides, and tools; a list of suggested reading on CER, PCOR, and evidence-based decision-making; and an overview on conducting a systematic review.
- Tips for Title V Directors: Integrating Injury and Violence Prevention into the MCH Needs Assessment, Selecting National Performance Measures, and Developing State Priorities and State Performance Measures for 2016-2020. Produced by Children's Safety Network. This fact sheet is designed to help states identify existing and emerging issues and use evidence-informed strategies and initiatives for injury and violence prevention. Topics include engaging stakeholders, assessing state needs and mandates, examining strengths and weaknesses, selecting priorities unique to the state's situation, setting performance measures, developing an action plan, seeking and allocating resources, monitoring progress for impact on outcomes, and reporting back to stakeholders. Resources are included. [Funded by the U.S. Maternal and Child Health Bureau]
- U.S. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) contracted with the American Institutes for Research to conduct the Investing in What Works project. The goal of the project was to continue ASPE’s efforts to build knowledge, tools, and supports that evidence-based interventions (EBIs) and initiatives can use to improve the quality and outcomes of interventions funded through federal investments. This project worked with a panel of national experts to convene action-oriented strategy meetings among federal staff, practitioners, and researchers, and to develop three issue briefs.
Other Selected Websites
November 2014; Updated August 2015, February 2017