Evidence-Based Programs, Policies, and Practices (EBPs) are found to be effective based on the results of rigorous evaluations. Ultimately, when choosing an intervention, we want to know first and foremost if it will work. In other words, is the program or policy likely to do what we hope it will do? Choosing a program or policy that has been scientifically evaluated to determine its effectiveness is one way to increase the likelihood of good results. The following definitions can help you navigate through the different kinds of prevention interventions:
Evidence-Based, Best, Promising, and Emerging Practices Defined
- Evidence-Based Practices are strategies, activities, or approaches that have been shown through scientific research and evaluation to be effective at preventing and/or delaying an unwanted outcome.
- Best Practices are programs, strategies, or approaches that have resulted from a rigorous process of peer review and evaluation that indicates effectiveness in improving prevention outcomes for a target population.
- Promising Practices are programs, strategies, or approaches that have some scientific research or data showing their effectiveness in delaying an unwanted outcome, but do not have enough evidence to support generalized conclusions.
- Emerging Practices are programs, strategies or approaches that incorporate the philosophy, values, characteristics, and indicators of other positive/effective prevention interventions. They are based on guidelines, protocols, standards, or preferred practice patterns that have been proven to lead to effective public health outcomes. They also incorporate a process of continual quality improvement.
Using an EBP increases the chance that the program will work as intended. However, there is no one-size-fits-all program. The best fit intervention is one that is relevant to the community logic model and appropriate to the community’s needs, resources, and readiness to act.
Most, if not all, EBPs are developed based on research and theory about what program components are likely to work for the targeted population. To ensure successful outcomes, it is often important to implement the program with fidelity, making sure to include all the core components of the program during implementation. If you need to adapt the program to fit local conditions or meet specific needs, these changes should be made carefully and systematically, based on a thorough understanding of the program theory and core components.
To help guide your work, you can explore some resources to access information on evidence-based prevention programs and practices. One such resource is Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development where you can find interventions based on specific criteria, like focusing on problem behaviors surrounding alcohol and illicit drug use. Another great resource is The Guide to Community Preventive Services, which provides recommendations and findings from the Community Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force) regarding programs and policies on public health topics, including excessive alcohol consumption.
The education strategies and environmental strategies accessed through this section are a part of the growing number of EBPs that have been implemented in Hawai‘i in the past few years. Each program or strategy is presented with an overview of programmatic or policy information and local implementation history based on publicly available online and printed sources, such as the websites listed above, peer-review journals, and reports. The list is not exhaustive of all EBPs implemented in Hawai‘i and does not constitute an endorsement or approval.
- Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (n.d). Emerging, promising and best practices definitions. Retrieved from: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/6062328/panta-plus-kentucky-cabinet-for-health-and-family-services
- O’Garro, M.A. and McDonald, S. (January, 2009). “Evidence-based” and “promising practices” and other important terms defined. Thurston County Public Health & Social Services - Epidemiology, Assessment & Planning Section. Retrieved from: http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/treatment-tax/docs/EvidenceBasedSummary.pdf
- SAMHSA (July, 2019). Finding Evidence-based Programs and Practices. Retrieved from: 20190719-samhsa-finding_evidence-based-programs-practices.pdf
- SAMHSA-CSAP (January, 2009). Identifying and Selecting Evidence-Based Interventions. Revised Guidance Document for the SPF-SIG Program.