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This guide provides links to online resources to support research into best practices for community health programming. This guide is not intended as a comprehensive list of links. It was produced in conjunction with the Carlisle Area Health & Wellness Foundation'sCapacity Building for Nonprofit Organizations training program by Theresa Arndt, Dickinson College Library.


Free Online Databases for Finding Evidence Published in Journals

PubMed "comprises over 20 million citations for biomedical literature...PubMed citations and abstracts include the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and preclinical sciences. PubMed is a free resource that is developed and maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), located at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)."

  • MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) to help find terms
  • Limits such as age, gender, date of publication
  • “Reviews” narrows search to overview articles & systematic reviews
  • “Related citations” suggests similar articles

ERIC: Education Resources Information Center “An online digital library of education research and information...sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education…. to improve practice in learning, teaching, educational decision-making, and research.” Includes citations and summaries of published journal articles, reports and other documents. Some full-text is included.

  • “Narrow your search” options appear on left after you search
  • Thesaurus helps you find terms, or narrow a search
  • “Related Items” suggests similar articles "aims to support evidence-informed decision making in public health by providing current [international] research evidence in a searchable online" database.

  • Search or Browse options
  • Extensive check boxes on Search page to focus search
  • TIP: This is a small database. If you find little or nothing, try clearing the checkboxes and simply search on keywords.

Other Free Online Tools for Finding Systematic Reviews,Evaluation Studies, Best Practices

CDC Guide to Community Preventive Services From the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. A site dedicated to answering questions such as: "Which program and policy interventions have been proven effective? Are there effective interventions that are right for my community? What might effective interventions cost; what is the likely return on investment?"

Model Practices Database from the National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO), "an online, searchable collection of innovative best practices across public health areas."

Promising Practices Network on Children, Families & Communities By the RAND Corporation. "The PPN website features summaries of programs and practices that are proven to improve outcomes for children. All of the information on the site has been screened for scientific rigor, relevance, and clarity."

AHRQ Innovations Exchange From the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality,"the Innovations Exchange supports the Agency's mission to improve the quality of health care and reduce disparities."

SAMSHA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices "A searchable online registry of interventions supporting mental health promotion, substance abuse prevention, and mental health and substance abuse treatment." From the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) of the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services.

Crime Solutions "The Office of Justice Programs’ uses rigorous research to determine what works in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services."

(MORE) Links to Databases of Best Practices A directory of additional free databases for finding best practices, from the Community Toolbox a service of the Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas.

Patient Health Information / Consumer Health

MedlinePlus Screened health information websites and online health tutorials, by the National Library of Medicine. English & Spanish.

CAPHIS Top 100 List: Web Sites You Can Trust

Families USA Advocacy group for healthcare consumers

Public Health Information Guides & Tutorials on the Web

" Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. For 3 decades, Healthy People has established benchmarks and monitored progress over time in order to: encourage collaborations across sectors; guide individuals toward making informed health decisions; measure the impact of prevention activities."

Healthy People 2010 includes reports and data on progress in meeting the objectives. The Healthy People 2010 Information Access Project provides structured PubMed searches for each Healthy People 2010 focus areas. Click on the focus area of interest, then click on the PubMed Search icon.
Healthy People 2020 details the new 10-year national objectives released on December 2, 2010. The Healthy People 2020 Information Access Project, currently under development, will provide structured PubMed searches for each Healthy People 2010 focus areas.

Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce "A collaboration of U.S. government agencies, public health organizations and health sciences libraries."

Evidence-Based Practice for Public Health from Lamar Soutter Library, University of Massachusetts Medical School

MI-INFO: Informatics for the Public Health Workforce A series of nine online tutorials on finding public health information.