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Free Content From Research to “Best Practices” in Other Settings and Populations

Objective: To review the genesis and current status of “best practices” thinking, its application in health promotion practice, and in generalizing research to alternate populations, places and times. Methods: A presbyopic eye is cast over the recent evolution of the concept of “best practices” from medicine to public health. Results: Some discontinuities are found in the migration of this concept from medicine, where it applies with some consistency to the relatively homogeneous physiology of the human species, to health behavior where social, cultural, economic, and other heterogeneities make the generalizability of any research more suspect. Conclusions: Health promotion and other applications of health behavioral research need to replace “best practices” with “best processes.”

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: WHO Collaborating Center for Tobacco & Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and, Health Promotion, Acting Director, Office on Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.

Publication date: May 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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