Research Topic

Evidence-based public health: why, what and how

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About this Research Topic

While much has been written about the role of evidence in clinical decision making, the role of evidence in public health policy making has received comparatively less attention.

Most would agree that, in view of risks and resource constraints, evidence ought to have an important role to ...

While much has been written about the role of evidence in clinical decision making, the role of evidence in public health policy making has received comparatively less attention.

Most would agree that, in view of risks and resource constraints, evidence ought to have an important role to play in public health interventions. However, the intuitive appeal of the concept of 'evidence-based public health' belies its complexity.

Factors which complicate the concept include:

- The potential for conflict between 'what is effective' and 'what is acceptable' to target populations both in terms of cost and values;
- What is regarded as high quality evidence at an individual level may differ from what may be high quality at a population level;
- The complexity of many public health interventions, and of the delivery structures for these interventions;
- Uncertainty around the transferability of evidence of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness between settings.

As such, this Research Topic welcomes submissions that seek to critically analyse the concept of evidence-based policy making in public health.

Submissions are encouraged from all types of public health systems from across the globe. This Research Topic aims to address the following:

- Explore what is meant by evidence and what constitutes evidence in various forms of healthcare
- Explain difficulties in producing evidence of effectiveness in areas of public health
- Critically appraise the concept of a hierarchy of evidence, including the role of tacit knowledge, controlled trials and 'real world' evaluations
- Untangle the concepts of effectiveness and cost effectiveness in the use of evidence in public health
- Explain difficulties in estimating cost effectiveness in public health when evidence is sparse
- Demonstrate conflicts between evidence and the values or preferences of the target population
- Demonstrate the way in which evidence-based policies as currently used do not necessarily produce the intended public-health outcomes
- Examine the process of evidence translation/transfer to meet the needs of policy makers and practitioners
- Offer new ways of conceptualising the value and role of evidence in public health policy-making
- Explore the application and use of evidence in resource-poor as well as resource-rich countries


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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