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Archive for March, 2008

Preview of New Evidence-Based Public Health Skill Building Web Page

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Submitted by Hathy Simpson

I have been busy developing a new skill building section for the Evidence-Based Practice for Public Health (EBPPH) website, http://library.umassmed.edu/ebpph. The section is intended to provide public health practitioners and health science librarians with an overview of the process of practicing evidence-based public health. Below is a sampling of this new section.

What is Evidence-Based Public Health?
Evidence-based public health (EBPH) is the use of the best available evidence to develop interventions, policies, and health promotion programs for population-based public health practice. EBPH requires integrating public health practitioner expertise, experience, and community values with the best evidence from systematic research.

The Evidence-Based Public Health Process
Evidence-based public health process involves selecting, implementing, and evaluating demonstrated interventions to address an identified public health problem. For example, do school-based intervention programs prevent obesity in children?

The process can be broken down into six steps:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Find the evidence
  3. Assess the evidence
  4. Develop and prioritize potential solutions
  5. Implement the selected solution(s)
  6. Evaluate the results

Step 1: Define the Problem
Write a statement of the problem. This statement should include:

  • The health/safety issue of concern
  • The population affected by the concern
  • The size and scope of the problem: Public health data and statistics to help quantify the problem can be found at PHPartners.org: Health Data Tools and Statistics (http://phpartners.org/health_stats.html)
  • Potential interventions (brainstormed solutions to the problem)
  • Potential outcomes of these solutions (the measurable results you hope to happen)

Step 2: Find the best evidence
Search and select the best evidence for effective solutions to the problem. The EBPPH website is designed to allow users to find the best evidence to inform public health practice decisions. The resources are arranged along a Pathway of Evidence-Based Resources. (http://library.umassmed.edu/ebpph/pathway.cfm) We recommend that you search for evidence in the following order:

  1. Evidence-Based Guidelines (http://library.umassmed.edu/ebpph/guidelines.cfm)
  2. Systematic Reviews (http://library.umassmed.edu/ebpph/syst_reviews.cfm)
  3. Pre-Formulated and Filtered Searches of Published Studies (http://library.umassmed.edu/ebpph/filt_search.cfm)
  4. Best Practices (http://library.umassmed.edu/ebpph/best_pract.cfm)
  5. Public Health Databases (http://library.umassmed.edu/ebpph/dblist.cfm)
  6. Public Health Journals (http://library.umassmed.edu/ebpph/journallist.cfm)
  7. Sometimes evidence, especially for a new public health problem, is not available from the published literature.

The Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce ( http://phpartners.org), provides access to additional public health information resources:

Step 3: Assess the Evidence
Assess the quality, relevance, and usefulness of the evidence to solve the identified problem. Compare your community’s health problem to the research findings.

Determine the following:

  • Characteristics of population groups studied or targeted
  • Possible interventions to resolve the problem
  • Relevance of the findings to your community’s problem and target population(s)
  • Potential benefits, harms, and costs of the intervention(s)
  • Barriers to implementation

The EBPPH website will link to resources for critical appraisal of public health practice evidence.

Step 4: Develop and Prioritize Potential Solutions
Based upon the results of assessment of the evidence, develop and prioritize feasible solutions to the problem.

Step 5: Implement the Selected Solution(s)
Translate the evidence into practice. Develop an action plan and implement the selected solution(s) to solve the public health problem.

Step 6: Evaluate the Results
Evaluate the implemented solutions. The evaluation should include both performance and outcome measures to determine if the program was effective in meetings its goals and objectives.

I will keep you posted on the progress of this new learning section of the website. Feedback is always accepted and greatly appreciated! I am also available to provide free training on how to search for evidence for public health practice. I can be reached at hathy.simpson@umassmed.edu or 508-856-2085.


NLM Improves MedlinePlus Go Local Search

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Today, March 19, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) released a new search engine for MedlinePlus GoLocal, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/golocal/, using the Vivisimo search software. By popular demand, search results now include health information from MedlinePlus, as well as the health services in MedlinePlus Go Local.

A look through the MedlinePlus Go Local search logs shows that many users are looking for health information as well as services. Examples include drug names such as Provigil and Cialis, disorders such as GERD and TMJ, and services such as dentists that take Medicaid and where to get a flu shot. In addition to adding health information from MedlinePlus, the new search results also feature improved relevance rankings, links to maps and directions, bold-face search words in context, and an integrated spell checker that suggests alternative search terms and spelling corrections.

Tox Town: Nuevo recurso en español de la Biblioteca Nacional de Medicina

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Tox Town is now available in both English, http://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov and en español, http://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/espanol. Visitors can learn in English or in Spanish about environmental health concerns and over 30 toxic chemicals in these imaginary neighborhoods: a City, Farm, Town, US-Mexico Border, and Port.

In either language, Tox Town uses neighborhood scenes along with color, graphics, sounds, and animation to add interest to learning about connections between chemicals, the environment, and the public’s health. Tox Town’s target audience is high school, college and graduate students, educators, and the interested public.

Tox Town en español identifies Spanish-language information in a subject area – environmental health and toxicology – that currently has few Web resources. To supplement the limited Web resources in Spanish, nearly 100 pages of background information describing environmental health concerns were translated and reviewed by a team of bilingual health information specialists.

Tox Town is ideal for supplementing classes in environmental science, earth science, forensics, and health. Also, students learning to read either English or Spanish may use Tox Town to improve language skills as they toggle back and forth between the Spanish and English text.

Tox Town joins three other Spanish-language Web resources from the National Library of Medicine. ToxMystery, for grades 2–6, features a bilingual talking cat that teaches about possible chemical hazards around the home, http://toxmystery.nlm.nih.gov. MedlinePlus (en español at http://medlineplus.gov/spanish ) directs users to hundreds of Spanish-language resources on health including drug information, news stories and interactive tutorials that read aloud in Spanish or in English. The AIDSinfo Web site, home for treatment guidelines, drug information and clinical trials related to HIV/AIDS, also has a Spanish version, infoSIDA, available at http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/infoSIDA.

Tox Town® is a project of the Specialized Information Services Division of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Promotional materials and Tox Town images for Web sites and publications are listed at http://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/clipart.html. Please send your comments or questions on Tox Town to tehip@teh.nlm.nih.gov.

What’s up dawg?

Friday, March 21st, 2008

American Idol’s Randy Jackson is the featured celebrity in the March issue of the MedlinePlus Magazine. Check out the latest issue to learn more about Randy Jackson’s experiences with controlling his diabetes. That’s what’s up dawg!

MedlinePlus Magazine is the NLM quarterly guide for patients and families. It brings the latest and most authoritative medical and health care information from the NIH as featured online on the MedlinePlus site. The MedlinePlus magazine is provided to all NN/LM members free of charge. This winter’s issue features many topics including the mind body connection role in fighting disease, kidney disease and diabetes, the growing epidemic of “diabesity” and healthy pregnancy.

Sign up for a free subscription to the MedlinePlus Magazine at: http://www.fnlm.org/join.pdf.

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