Understanding administrative evidence-based practices: Findings from a survey of local health department leaders

Academic Article


  • Background There are sparse data showing the extent to which evidence-based public health is occurring among local health departments. Purpose The purpose of the study was to describe the patterns and predictors of administrative evidence-based practices (structures and activities that are associated with performance measures) in a representative sample of local health departments in the U.S. Methods A cross-sectional study of 517 local health department directors was conducted from October through December 2012 (analysis in January-March 2013). The questions on administrative evidence-based practices included 19 items based on a recent literature review (five broad domains: workforce development, leadership, organizational climate and culture, relationships and partnerships, financial processes). Results There was a wide range in performance among the 19 individual administrative evidence-based practices, ranging from 35% for providing access to current information on evidence-based practices to 96% for funding via a variety of sources Among the five domains, values were generally lowest for organizational climate and culture (mean for the domain=49.9%) and highest for relationships and partnerships (mean for the domain=77.1%). Variables associated with attaining the highest tertile of administrative evidence-based practices included having a population jurisdiction of 25,000 or larger (adjusted ORs [aORs] ranging from 4.4 to 7.5) and state governance structure (aOR=3.1). Conclusions This research on the patterns and predictors of administrative evidence-based practices in health departments provides information on gaps and areas for improvement that can be linked with ongoing quality improvement processes. © 2014 American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Brownson RC; Reis RS; Allen P; Duggan K; Fields R; Stamatakis KA; Erwin PC
  • Start Page

  • 49
  • End Page

  • 57
  • Volume

  • 46
  • Issue

  • 1