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 MCH Evidence Center's collection of Evidence Toolkits that present evidence-based/informed programs and resources for use by state Title V agencies and AMCHP’s Innovation Hub for a collection of evidence-based and informed practices from the field of MCH.
Evidence-Based 101. Date Developed: 2014. Source: FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention. Type: Interactive Modules. Length: Self-Paced. Available at no charge but requires users to self-register for an account by selecting a user name and password.
Module 1: Defining and Researching Evidence-Based Practice
Module 2: Understanding the Initial Steps in Evidence-Based Service Delivery
Module 3: Researching Evidence-Based Programs
Evidence-Based Behavioral Practice Training Portal. Nine modules illustrate the evidence-based practice process for both individual and population-based approaches. Continuing education credits are available for social workers, psychologists, physicians, and nurses.
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 provides expertise in designing, conducting, and using a range of scientific research and evaluation approaches in varied settings, disseminates information to help clients understand what types of questions different research methods can and cannot address. Also uses transparent and scientific standards to assess and improve the quality of research methods. (formerly Mathematica Policy Research’s Center for Improving Research Evidence, CIRE).
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.
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.
Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. A collection of scientifically-based resources for a broad range of audiences, including Treatment Improvement Protocols, toolkits, resource guides, clinical practice guidelines, and other science-based resources that aims to provide communities, clinicians, policy-makers and others in the field with the information and tools they need to incorporate evidence-based practices into their communities or clinical settings.
Evidence in Action
Are you interested in developing, implementing, and evaluating evidence-informed programs in the Title V context? Take advantage of evidence-related technical assistance.
Where can I access technical assistance and what will it address? Click the image below to expand.
November 2014; Updated August 2015, October 2017, July 2019
This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $225,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.