Evidence-based public health: a critical perspective
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Evidence-Based Medicine. Physicians who properly practise EBM use both individual clinical expertise and the best available external evidence—neither one to the exclusion of the other. This remains the modality of EBM however and, unfortunately, is rarely practised. Evidence-Based Public Health. Similar to EBM, EBPH too is often misunderstood to mean a direct application of the evidence. Such a dogmatic interpretation of this evidence can be seen as a manifestation of representationalism, the philosophic stance that some ways of looking at the world give a more privileged and unmediated view of reality than others.
Methods and results
This commentary provides a critical perspective on the current use and misuse of EBPH. As EBM has been in usage longer than EBPH, we start with comments on EBM.
A reconsideration of EBPH would admit that values cannot be expunged from our work; rather, they need to play a foundational role. We must draw upon other forms of knowing, such as the arts, in order to practice medicine and public health with attention to transcendent concerns such as morality and social justice.
KeywordsPhilosophy, Medical Public health practice Social medicine
Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare no relevant associations that might pose a conflict of interest.
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