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Library Resources for Public Health 205, Spring 2013

Instructor: Sonya Dublin

Presented by Michael Sholinbeck

URL for this web page:


The Public Health Library, Location, Reference, Off-Campus Access to Library Resources

Sheldon Margen Public Health Library   Library hours: M-Th 9-8, F 9-5, Sa-Su 1-5

Reference Services
In-person come to 1 University Hall (in the basement): Reference Desk hours: M-F 10-12, 2-4
Other options include IM chat (24/7) and email reference.

Off-Campus Access to library resources (databases, online journals, etc.)

Starting the Process

Grants and Research Information
This is the Public Health Library's guide to organizations providing grants and research support, including tips and tools, such as the Proposal Writing Short Course (from the Foundation Center): a guide to the process of gathering background information and creating the various components of the proposal (statement of need, budget, etc.)
» Keeping Up-to-Date on Public Health Grants

The CDCynergy Health Communication/Health Education Planning Model:

  1. Defining and describing the problem(s)
  2. Analyzing the problem
  3. Plan the intervention, including audience segmentation
  4. Developing communication strategies and tactics
  5. Developing an evaluation plan
  6. Launching the plan and obtaining feedback

Another tool to try is the Online Health Program Planner 2.0 (The Health Communication Unit, and the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools, Canada). It includes:

Overview: Evidence-Informed Decision Making in Public Health (from National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools, Canada)
This is part of an online learning module, and includes:

  1. What is evidence-informed public health?
  2. Define: Clearly define the question or problem
  3. Search: Efficiently search for research evidence
  4. Appraise: Critically and efficiently appraise the information sources
  5. Synthesize: Interpret information and form recommendations for practice
  6. Adapt: Adapt the information to the local context
  7. Implement: Decide whether (and plan how) to implement the evidence
  8. Evaluate: Assess the effectiveness of implementation efforts

Another online learning module from NCCMT of interest is Critical Appraisal of Intervention Studies:
It demonstrates how to assess the quality of an intervention study,
and how to determine whether that intervention can be applied to your situation.

Here is a summary table of basic considerations for critical appraisal of intervention studies

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Statistical Information

What to consider when looking at survey or estimated data:

Adopted from information on the UCSF Family Health Outcomes Project web site

Reliability and validity
(Adopted from Chapter 3, Conducting research literature reviews : from the Internet to paper, by Arlene Fink; Sage, 2010.)

Reliable data collection: relatively free from "measurement error."
  » Is the survey written at a reading level too high for the people completing it?
  » If I measure something today, then measure it again tomorrow using the same scale, will it vary? Why?

Validity refers to how well a measure assesses what it claims to measure
  » If the survey is supposed to measure "quality of life," how is that concept defined? Is it measurable?

Extensive discussions of reliability and validity are available in several texts, such as Textbook in Psychiatric Epidemiology (3rd Ed.; M. Tsuang et al. Wiley. 2011; See chapters 5 and 7).

US Census

State and County QuickFacts
Quickly get recent state, county, and city demographics (including age, race/ethnicity, income, residence) and business information. Use American Factfinder to locate detailed Census tables.


Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System: BRFSS
BRFSS tracks health conditions and risk behaviors in the United States. BRFSS provides state- and metro area-specific prevalence and trends information about issues such as asthma, diabetes, health care access, alcohol use, hypertension, obesity, cancer screening, nutrition and physical activity, tobacco use, and more.
» BRFSS Prevalence and Trends Data: Information on about 20 topics/categories.
» BRFSS SMART (Selected Metropolitan/Micropolitan Area Risk Trends): Analyzed BRFSS data of selected areas with over 500 respondents.
» BRFSS Maps: Maps of BRFSS questionaire responses. GIS data downloads also available.

YRBSS: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System
Information on youth risk behaviors. Note: There is no California statewide data, but there is data for some large CA cities.

Health Data Interactive
Create tables with national health statistics for infants, children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. Tables can be customized by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and geographic location to explore different trends and patterns. You can download your tables in Excel or CSV format.
» HDI: Getting Started guide
» HDI data sources
There are 7 categories of information:

Provides a single point of access to a wide variety of public health reports and data systems, both local and external, categorized by topic, alphabetically, or by utilizing online query systems.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Data and Statistics
Injury, illness, exposure, and other occupational surveillance statistics.

Health Data and Statistics
CDC's portal for surveillance and other statistics and data on a great variety of topics.

US Dept. of Labor

Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities
Statistics and data on illnesses and injuries on the job and data on worker fatalities.


Child Trends DataBank
"Latest national trends and research on over 100 key indicators of child and youth well-being."
Indicators available by:
» life stage (pregnancy, birth, adolescent, etc.)
» topics (health, child care, behaviors)
» context (demographics, family issues, economic security, etc.)

California and Local Statistics

California Health Interview Survey (CHIS)
Quick access to state and local data on hundreds of health topics. Run your own customized search using AskCHIS, review publications and data summaries, and more. CHIS is the state's largest health survey.

California Department of Public Health:
Statistics: Links to several statistical resources from the California Department of Public Health, including communicable disease data, HIV/AIDS statistics, birth and death data, and more.
Publications and Reports: Reports and statistics on numerous diseases and conditions in California, many at county level. Includes County Health Status Profiles, selected health status indicators for monitoring state and local progress toward achieving Healthy People goals.

Kids Count Data Center
Includes data by state, across states, and some county and city level data. Data can be mapped or graphed. Includes hundreds of measures of child well-being.

2007 California County Data Book (Children Now)
Comprehensive county-level data on children's health, education and economic well-being in an easy to read format. Also includes County Rankings and County Data by Race/Ethnicity.
» Most of the information has been updated for the 2012 California County Scorecard.

California State Association of Counties
Links to every individual California county web site. May be useful for finding county level information.
Local public health departments are often a good source of community statistics and other information. See, for example, reports and data offered by

County Health Rankings
Health outcomes and factors for every county in the United States.
Get brief snapshots of morbidity, mortality, health behaviors, social and economic factors, physical environment, demographics, and more; with links to detailed statistics.
Easily compare counties to each other.
Complete reports available as PDF; data downloadable as XLS.

Search Your Environment by Zip Code (US EPA)
Info on hazardous waste sites, toxic releases, facility enforcement/compliance history, air pollution, and cleanup activities.

US HUD Local Level Data
Home foreclosures by county, place, and census tract. Requires unzipping a folder and downloading an excel spreadsheet. Can use Ctrl F to find desired geography.

Data and Statistics, California Department of Education
Data on school enrollment, non-English language learners, free lunch numbers, teacher data, class size, and much more.

Calif. Dept of Alcoholic Beverage Control: License query system.
Find liquor stores, bars, etc. by zip code. Can also search by census tract.

Calif. Office of Statewide Planning and Development: Data Products
Hospital discharge data, quality data, facility data, emergency room encounters, etc. Data also available for other states, or the US.

Traffic Data Branch (CalTrans)
Traffic volumes, truck traffic, and ramp volume for California state highways. View tables, or download data as Excel files.


Global Health Observatory (World Health Organization)
WHO's portal providing access to data and analyses for monitoring the global health situation. It provides critical data and analyses for key health themes, as well as direct access to the full database.

Regional Core Health Data Initiative (Pan-American Health Organization)
Health Indicators for Western Hemisphere countries in an interactive table format, as well as Country Health Profiles and a GIS query and display.

Measure DHS
Demographic and Health Surveys information in interactive table format. Data on MCH issues, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, youth, etc. GIS mapper and data also available.

World dataBank (World Bank)
Access to over 1200 indicators with time series for 246 countries/country groups from 1960 to 2012. Data includes vital statistics, demographics, labor force, health expenditures, malnutrition, pollution, trade, consumption, GDP, GNP, investment activity, debt, and much more.

More Resources

ProQuest Statistical DataSets
Access to billions of data points from licensed and public domain datasets. Sources of data include local, state and international governments and organizations. Datasets are customizable, allowing you to select variables of interest such as age, gender, and race. Click "Citations" for the data source.

See also the Public Health Library's Statistical/Data Resources web page

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Health Promotion Planning and Evaluation Resources:

Community Toolbox (Univ. of Kansas)
Provides over 6,000 pages of practical skill-building information on over 250 different topics. Topic sections include step-by-step instruction, examples, check-lists, and related resources. It has sections on leadership, strategic planning, community assessment, advocacy, grant writing, and evaluation, as well as Best Practices examples and evidence. Tool Box will help with skill building, work planning, and troubleshooting.

The Registry of Methods and Tools (National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools)
A searchable, online collection of methods (processes) and tools (instruments) for knowledge translation in public health. Includes such resources as A partnership guide, which provides practical tips, checklists, stories and strategies to help develop, sustain and evaluate a partnership.

Prevention Institute: Tools
Support the crafting, implementation, and evaluation of comprehensive prevention initiatives and effective coalitions. The tools include information on developing effective coalitions, developing prevention plans, and more.

Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T. (NCI, CDC, etc.)
Step-by-steps for developing programs, also has information by cancer control topic.

Health Manager's Toolkit
An electronic compendium of tools designed to assist health professionals at all levels of an organization in their efforts to provide accessible high-quality and sustainable health services. It includes spreadsheet templates, forms for gathering and analyzing data, checklists, guidelines for improving organizational performance, and self-assessment tools that allow managers to evaluate the systems underlying their entire organization.

A Guide to Evaluation in Health Research (Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
The purpose of this learning module is to build knowledge and skill in the area of evaluation of health and health research initiatives.
The five sections are:

Evaluation Resources (Health Communications Unit, Centre for Health Promotion, University of Toronto)
Numerous publications, manuals, tip sheets, web sites, and more.

The Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation (US DHHS)
Explains program evaluation - what it is, how to understand it, and how to do it. It answers your questions about evaluation and explains how to use evaluation to improve programs.

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Model Programs and more

It worked there. Will it work here? (PDF): Tool for Assessing Applicability and Transferability of Evidence (A: When considering starting a new program). Hamilton, ONT, Canada: National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools, 2011.

Canadian Best Practices Portal
CBBP is a compendium of community interventions related to chronic disease prevention and health promotion that have been evaluated, shown to be successful, and have the potential to be adapted and replicated by other health practitioners working in similar fields.
Search for either interventions or resources.

Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (UCSF)
Information of programs, collaboration, researchers, and more.
» CAPS Model Prevention Programs

Effective Interventions: HIV Prevention that Works
Resources for HIV prevention providers such as health departments and community-based organizations so as to provide the best evidence-based HIV prevention services.
This site provides summaries of the best types of practices for HIV prevention from the Diffusion of Effective Behavioral Interventions project (DEBI) project.

Examples of Policies and Programs that Work
From the County Health Rankings website, here you can find examples of programs and policies that have been shown to be effective in addressing specific health factors and focus areas.
Focus areas include health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment.

Intervention Resources (Center of Excellence for Training and Research Translation)
Search for interventions or intervention strategies by setting (school, worksite, etc.), with additional resources on obesity prevention and WISEWOMAN.
Each entry provides targeted outcomes, an evidence summary, and examples. The examples include core elements, resources required, potential public health impact, evaluation, technical assistance, and more.

Links to Databases of Best Practices (Community Tool Box)
A list of comprehensive web-based resources for exploring promising approaches to promote community health and development. Includes general resources, and topic-specific (chronic disease, violence, cancer, etc.) resources.

Model Practices Database (NACCHO)
Search by state or categories. Each record includes an overview of the program, contact information, web site, and an evaluation.

Programs that Work (Promising Practices Network)
Summaries of programs and practices that are proven to improve outcomes for children.
View programs by outcome area, indicator, topic, or evidence level.
» The Research in Brief section includes research summaries, reviewed and selected to provide objective, high-quality evidence.

More Resources

See the Public Health Library's Health Care Planning, Organization, and Evaluation Resources web page

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PubMed Tips

PubMed: Citations to over 22 million journal articles, with links to full text via Getting Started with UC-eLinks

PubMed top tips for focusing your search:

  1. Combine terms (or previous searches) with AND or OR
  2. Use Limits (Age group, Publication type, language, etc.)
  3. Search for your term as a word in the title or title or abstract (using Limits)
  4. Use MeSH, with subheadings
  5. Try PubMed's Clinical Queries or Topic-Specific Queries
  6. Use the Related Articles link, once you find a set of relevant citations
  » Information on these follows:

» PubMed Quick Guide: Basic search help.
» PubMed exercise set (PDF; Public Health Library): Use these to hone your PubMed skills.

» Combining search terms with Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT - remember Venn diagrams?)

» Filters (formerly called Limits): Limit your search by language, age group, publication type, publication date, and more.
   Also use Filters to limit your search to words in the article title, abstract, or Medical Subject Heading (MeSH).
   Note that Filters stay in effect until you clear them.

» Use Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):

» Clinical Queries: Evidence-based PubMed filters: » Topic-Specific Queries "Canned" search strategies that retrieve a citation subset of PubMed. Topic-specific queries include:
» Saving citations temporarily using PubMed's Clipboard

» My NCBI:

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Other Resources for Finding Articles, Books, Evidence UC-eLinks gif     access paid by UCB

Excellent sources of systematic reviews and other evidence-based public health evaluations are:

OskiCat: UCB library catalog
Use the library catalogs to find books, reports, etc. on your topic.

Sociological Abstracts
Citations in demography, education, law, social psychology, and sociology. Sources include journals, books, conferences and meetings, and dissertations.
» Sociological Abstracts does use a controlled vocabulary. Click Search Tools then Thesaurus to browse for terms.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Cultural capital, peer relations, strategies, neighborhoods, social constructionism, ...
» Sociological Abstracts Guide

Citations in psychology, behavior, and related disciplines; includes citations of journal articles, conference proceedings, books and book chapters, reports and dissertations.
» PsycINFO does use a controlled vocabulary. Click Search Tools then Thesaurus to browse for terms.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Economic security, socioeconomic class attitudes, labeling, ...
» PsycINFO Quick Guide (PDF)

Global Health
Citations in environmental and occupational health, food safety and hygiene, infectious diseases, medical microbiology, nutrition, public health, toxicology, zoonoses, and more. Sources include journals, books, reports, conference proceedings, and more. Significantly more international coverage than PubMed.
» Global Health does use a controlled vocabulary. Use the drop-down menu and select Descriptors then click to browse the thesaurus.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Search by (relatively narrow) geographic locations (ie, setting), or country in which work published.
» Global Health Help (PDF)

Broad biomedical scope with strong coverage in pharmaceutical and toxicological research, including economic evaluations. Useful for clinical medicine, genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, infectious diseases, healthcare policy & management, biomedical engineering & medical devices, and more. Embase is a primary resource for conducting systematic reviews and researching evidence-based medicine. Includes abstracts of over 2,000 conferences.
» Embase does use a controlled vocabulary. Click Emtree above the search box to search or browse for terms.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Exceptional coverage of drug/toxicology topics, more European literature, sophisticated indexing scheme ("Emtree"'), ...

Web of Science
Large, multidisciplinary database; links to cited articles and times cited are provided for retrieved articles.
» Web of Science does not use a controlled vocabulary; it uses author keywords and keywords assigned algorithmically.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Scope of database is broad; best resources for cited reference searching.
» Cited Reference Searching

See the Public Health Library's Online Indexes and Databases web page for dozens more databases useful for finding public health articles, books, book chapters, reports, and more.

Grey Literature
Grey Literature generally refers to publications not produced by commercial publishers, including reports (pre-prints, preliminary progress and advanced reports, technical reports, market research reports, etc.), theses, conference proceedings, and other documents. They are often produced by government entities, research institutions, or NGOs/IGOs.

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