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Workforce training in evidence-informed decision making

Date and Location




Friday 20 September 2013 - 13:30 - 15:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Elizabeth Waters

Contact person

Tahna Pettman
Elizabeth Waters
Abstract text
Background: Whilst public health practitioners and policymakers ideally should be using evidence to inform their decision-making, a range of barriers exist in practice, including time to access evidence, skills, and organisational culture. The Cochrane Public Health Group (CPHG) has instigated a range of knowledge translation (KT) strategies, including workforce development (training), to encourage utilisation of its reviews in public health decision-making. The CPHG has delivered tailored short-courses in evidence-informed public health (EIPH) since 2005 in collaboration with others. Whilst training programs that aim to increase knowledge and skills for evidence-informed decision-making show promise, few rigorous evaluations are available to determine their effectiveness. Objectives: To describe the methods and results of an ongoing evaluation to understand short-term and longer-term impacts of workforce EIPH training. Methods: Traditionally CPHG have evaluated participants’ experiences directly following each EIPH course. A more comprehensive pre-post evaluation to assess knowledge, confidence and attitudes was undertaken in 2012. Survey instruments were developed to suit the EIPH teaching process. Participants were invited to complete a pre and post impact evaluation survey within a week prior and immediately after each course was delivered. Participants were also invited to respond to a longitudinal assessment after 6 months to assess sustainability of training outcomes. Results: In addition to consistently high ratings of the course relevance, ease of understanding content, and facilitators’ performance, improvements across five core domains of evidence-informed practice have been observed from evaluation data collected pre and post training courses delivered in 2012. Data analysis is underway and longitudinal assessment is ongoing. This presentation will report results on participant experiences, and changes in confidence and attitudes to finding and utilising evidence to inform programs and policies. Conclusions: Evaluation of EIPH training will build knowledge about whether this strategy is effective for enhancing the use of evidence in public health decision-making.