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Library Resources for Public Health 292, Spring 2011

Instructor: Dr. Denise Herd

Presented by Michael Sholinbeck

URL for this web page: www.lib.berkeley.edu/PUBL/SPH/PH292_S11.html


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.

How to set up off-campus access to library resources (databases, online journals, etc.)

Starting the Process

The CDCynergy Health Communication/Health Education Planning Model: (from CDC and SOPHE)

  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

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 own public health situation.
Here is a summary table of basic considerations for critical appraisal of intervention studies

Solutions for Public Health (UK) has a nice set of PDF documents on critically evaluating different types of studies (eg, systematic reviews, cohort studies, RCTs, qualitative studies, etc.) available at their Critical Appraisal Skills Programme web page.

Literature Review Matrix (.doc):
This chart may help you organize what you find in your literature search. This is a simplified version of the matrix presented in Health sciences literature review made easy: the matrix method (J. Garrard; Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning, 2011), available in the Public Health Library, call number R118.6 .G37 2011 (Reference Section)

What causes disease?
My thought process first led me to thinking about the interaction and interdependence of environmental factors (pollution, disasters, outbreaks) and social factors (smoking, obesity, drug use).
Then I moved on to thinking a little more broadly, eg, is exacerbation of asthma in West Oakland "caused" by air pollution and/or smoking? Or, is it "caused" by inadequate regulation of transportation, energy production, and tobacco? Or by historical racism in housing and neighborhood characteristics? What about genetic factors? What about access to appropriate prescription drugs?

Let's find some literature to support or refute this!

What is evidence? Things to keep in mind:

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PubMed Tips

PubMed: Citations to over 20 million journal articles, with links to full text via Getting Started with UC-eLinks

PubMed top tips for focusing your search:

  1. Combine terms 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

» PubMed Quick Guide: Basic search help.
» PubMed exercise set:   PDF   |   DOC
» Combining search terms with Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT - remember Venn diagrams?)
» Limits: Limit your search by language, age group, publication type, publication date, and more. Also use Limits search for words in the article title, abstract, or Medical Subject Heading (MeSH). Note that Limits stay in effect until you clear them.
» Use Medical Subject Headings (MeSH): » Clinical Queries: You may especailly be interested in finding systematics reviews on your topic. Also consider that etiology may be used for a "cause of disease" search, and that therapy encompasses any type of intervention.
» Topic-Specific Queries use "canned" search strategies to fetch a citation subset of PubMed. Relevant topic-specific queries include: » Saving citations temporarily using the Clipboard
» My NCBI: Saving search results, searches, and more: customize PubMed to meet your needs.

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Other Resources for Finding Articles, Books, and other sources of studies and evidence Getting Started with UC-eLinks     access paid by UCB

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

Sociological Abstracts
Citations in demography, education, law, social psychology, and sociology. Sources include journals, books, conferences and meetings, and dissertations.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Cultural capital, peer relations, strategies, neighborhoods, social constructionism, ...
» Sociological Abstracts Fact Sheet

Citations in psychology, behavior, and related disciplines; includes citations of journal articles, conference proceedings, books and book chapters, reports and dissertations.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Economic security, socioeconomic class attitudes, labeling, ...
» PsycINFO Search Guide (pdf file)
» PsycINFO - Factsheet

Social Work Abstracts
Citations on topics such as homelessness, HIV/AIDS, child and family welfare, aging, substance abuse, legislation, community organization, and more.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Age bias, family functioning, resiliency, ...
» Social Work Abstracts Help

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, patents, theses, and electronic only publications. Significantly more international coverage than PubMed.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Search by (relatively narrow) geographic locations (ie, setting), or country in which work published.
» Global Health Quick Guide

Web of Science
Large, multidisciplinary database; links to cited articles and times cited are provided for retrieved articles.
» What's not in PubMed?
    Scope of database is broad; best resources for cited reference searching.
» Search Tips for Web of Science
» Cited Reference Searching

Use the library catalogs to find books, reports, etc. on your topic.
Over 10 million volumes; maybe there's one on your topic:

OskiCat: Catalog of UCB
» OskiCat Help
Next-Gen Melvyl: Catalog of all UC, and beyond
» Next-Gen Melvyl Help

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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

US Census

American Factfinder
Information on demography, poverty, housing, employment, economics, and more. Census 2000 information available down to census block level; Census 2010 information coming.


Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System: BRFSS
BRFSS tracks health conditions and risk behaviors in the United States. BRFSS provides state-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 questionairre 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.

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.


Child Trends DataBank
"Latest national trends and research on over 100 key indicators of child and youth well-being."

California and Local Statistics

California Health Interview Survey: CHIS
Instantly get 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.

2007 California County Data Book (Children Now)
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.

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

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.


Global Health Observatory (World Health Organization)
Access to data and analyses for monitoring the global health situation.

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 Development Indicators Online
This database, produced by the World Bank, provides access to over 800 indicators with time series for 209 countries and 18 country groups from 1960 to 2008. Data includes vital statistics, demographics, labor force, health expenditures, malnutrition, pollution, trade, consumption, GDP, GNP, investment activity, debt, and much more.

More Resources

Local public health departments are often a good source of community statistics and other information. See, for example, reports and data offered by San Francisco Department of Public Health, Alameda County Public Health Department, Contra Costa Health Services.

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.

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.

Model Programs and more

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

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

Best Practices Compendium (Advance Africa)
Database of proven practices to be used by program managers who have identified gaps, needs, and opportunities in their programs.

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

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