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Policy Statements


The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) supports evidence-based public health practice,* including the following:

  • The use of analytical tools and methods for evaluating evidence to determine the effectiveness and feasibility of population-based interventions.
  • The translation of data to help educate communities and to inform public policy.
  • Where data does not exist, community assessment and research into public health prevention and intervention strategies to determine when and what type of public health action is recommended and evaluation, based on the condition's magnitude, severity, and preventability, of the effectiveness of such action to inform future practice.
  • Broad distribution of newly recommended population-based interventions with evidence of effectiveness.
  • Emerging best practices that the community has found to be legitimate and effective, which often serve as precursors to the development of evidence-based practices.

The Community Guide, through the systematic review of scientific literature, and its evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of existing research evidence for community-based health promotion and disease prevention programs, services, and policies provides LHD with the tools necessary to:

  • Assess the effectiveness of programs, services, and policies;
  • Examine the applicability of these programs, services, and policies to various populations and settings; and,
  • Conduct the appropriate economic and financial analyses of cost and return on investment, to provide a full complement of information to inform decision-making.


Evidence-based practice for public health involves using the best available evidence to make informed public health practice decisions.  The foundation for evidence-based public health practice is a combination of multidisciplinary empirical research and evaluation evidence, community beliefs and opinions, accumulated public health practice experience, and other local considerations. Together, these factors determine which programs are most likely to be effective in a given jurisdiction.

Adopted by NACCHO Board of Directors

November 12, 2000

Updated February 2004

Updated September 2007

Updated October 2010


Public Health Service, Task Force on Community Preventive Services. A Guide to Community Preventive Services. Retrieve on October 22, 2010, from http://www.thecommunityguide.org/index.html.

National Association of County and City Health Officials. (2005). Operational Definition of a Functional Local Health Department, Local Health Standard 10. Retrieved on October 22, 2010, from http://www.naccho.org/topics/HPDP/commguide/upload/Operational-Definition-of-a-Functional-Local-Health-Department.pdf.

University of Massachusetts Medical School. About Evidence Based Practice for Public Health. Retrieved on September 5, 2010, from http://library.umassmed.edu/ebpph/about.cfm.

Anderson, Laurie, et al. (2005). Evidence Based Public Health Policy and Practice: Promises and Limits. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 28(5S): 226-230.

 * Evidence-based practice is defined as "the development, implementation, and evaluation of effective programs and policies in public health through application of principles of scientific reasoning including systematic uses of data and program planning models" in Brownson, Ross C., Gurney, James G., and Land, Garland H. Evidence-Based Decision Making in Public Health. Journal of Public Health Management Practice. 1999; 5(5): 86-97.