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Inside the Bloomberg public health toolbox
Date:12/19/2013

e embarking on new policies, and in some cases he would ask questions that required fundamental revisions," the researchers write.

Five Key Tools, a Model for Other Cities

Dr. Laugessen and co-author Kimberly R. Isett, PhD, associate professor in the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech, identified five strategies used by New York City policymakers:

  1. Rigorous appraisal of published studies. Health officials didn't limit themselves to top-line findings from studies but looked "under the hood" at the methodology and granular data.

  2. Collection of health survey data. Survey data at the local level provided an evidence-based foundation for developing interventions and served as a benchmark for evaluating their effectiveness.

  3. Shoe-leather research. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene conducted smaller-scale research to tailor findings to local contexts and to make heath issues more concrete to the public.

  4. Inter-agency collaboration. Collaborations helped broaden available data and policy options. Example: The Departments of Police, Health, Parks and Recreation, and Transportation collaborated to research bicycle fatalities and guide the creation of bicycle lanes.

  5. Research dissemination. Between 2004 and 2008, city health officials published more than 300 articles in peer-reviewed public health and medical journals. They also used opinion pieces and commentaries to reframe the issue.

"Especially with innovative policies, it is necessary to develop an information base and make policies that are evidence-based," adds Dr. Laugesen.

While some policies were challenged in the courts with some questioning the depth of evidence behind policies like the ban on trans fats or the link between soda consumption and obesity, interviewees did not question the quality of health data collected by the City.

Strengthening public health p
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Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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