PHP2: Evidence-Based Public Health Practice - Course Outline


Public health practitioners are increasingly applying an evidence‐based approach to program planning, implementation and evaluation in order to respond to new and ongoing challenges. This course will introduce you to concepts associated with evidence‐based public health practice. Learning materials focus on strategies for collecting and appraising evidence and the application of best practices using established resources and proven methodologies.


EPI1: Basic Epidemiological Concepts is the only prerequisite for the course.

You will need a basic understanding of the fundamentals of epidemiology and an understanding of high school mathematics. You will be working with rates, and so will require some knowledge in the use of ratios, proportions, crude, specific and adjusted rates; incidence and prevalence; defining health and health status; assessing the health of a community using selected indicators of health status; and preparing, analyzing and interpreting various types of data and of presentation tools, including tables, graphs and charts.

If you are a beginning practitioner or would like to refresh your knowledge of the fundamentals of epidemiology, you are encouraged to take the first three introductory courses: EPI1: Basic Epidemiological Concepts; EPI2: Measurement of Health Status and EPI3: Epidemiological Methods before registering for this course.

It is recommended that you complete the self‐directed course PHP4: Introduction to Literature Searching either before starting the course or in conjunction with the course. PHP4 is not facilitated, and takes between 4 and 6 hours to complete.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will:


Successful completion of this course contributes to the attainment of the following Core Competencies for Public Health In Canada:

The Learning Process

This course is divided into seven lessons, and includes assignments and discussion forum activities. Each lesson ends with a self‐assessment test. You will have eight weeks to complete the 22-37 hours of work required (about 3‐5 hours per week is suggested; see the learning schedule below).

A trained online facilitator, knowledgeable in public health, is assigned to your group to provide support and guidance. The facilitator is available to answer content‐related questions, provide feedback on assignments, and encourage discussion among participants through discussion forums.

PHP2 Learning Schedule

This schedule is a guide to help you pace yourself as you go through the course. Please aim to complete the discussion activities "in sync" with the other learners.

Time Period Course Work Estimated # of hours

Week 1

Getting Started: what you need to know and do

  • Make sure you can access all parts of the site
  • Review material

Lesson 1- Evidence in Public Health

  • Introduce yourself and respond to fellow learners on the Discussion Forum
  • Complete Lesson 1
  • Complete Discussion Activity 1
  • Complete Self-Assessment for Lesson 1
3-4 hours

Week 2

Lesson 2-Effective review questions

  • Complete Lesson 2
  • Complete Assignment 1
  • Complete Self-Assessment for Lesson 2
3-5 hours

Week 3

Lesson 3-Evidence-based search techniques

  • Complete Lesson 3
  • Complete Assignment 2
  • Complete Self-Assessment for Lesson 3
2-5 hours

Week 4

Lesson 4-Research sources

  • Complete Lesson 4
  • Complete Discussion Activity 2
  • Complete Self-Assessment for Lesson 4
3-5 hours

Week 5

Lesson 5-Critical appraisal

  • Complete Lesson 5
  • Complete Discussion Activity 3
  • Complete Self-Assessment for Lesson 5
3-5 hours

Week 6

Lesson 6-Research reviews

  • Complete Lesson 6
  • Complete Discussion Activity 4
  • Complete Assignment 3
  • Complete Self-Assessment for Lesson 6
3-5 hours

Week 7

Lesson 7-Evaluating evidence quality

  • Complete Lesson 7
  • Complete Discussion Activity 4
  • Complete Self-Assessment for Lesson 7
3-5 hours

Week 8

Finishing Up

  • Ensure you have completed all parts of the course, have submitted all assignments and completed discussion activities.
  • Complete Final Feedback Survey
2-3 hours
Total 22-37 hours

Course Features


The lessons in this course utilize a mix of text, figures and links to websites to introduce the types of research reviews, the advantages and limitations of each type, the rationale and methodology applied in conducting a critical appraisal and the application of systematic reviews in the public health realm.

There are many strategies for identifying, evaluating and incorporating evidence. This course will walk you through a six step strategy to incorporate evidence into your public health practice.

Discussion Forums

Discussion forums are integral to the course. Messages can be posted and read on the forum system whenever convenient — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Assignments feature in all the courses, allowing you to reflect on the course content and to apply some of the concepts and principles to your work as a public health practitioner.

The three assignments in this course ask you to select a topic or subject you would like to know more about or an area you would like to modify your own practice and to utilize the PICOT Framework (Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome and Type of Study) to practice:

  1. gaining knowledge and experience in recognizing and developing an answerable question;
  2. applying some of the techniques and strategies for searching for evidence for a research question;
  3. gaining experience in identifying and ranking possible interventions and in assessing the evidence from systemic reviews.

Assignments are usually one or two pages in length. Your facilitator will review, grade and provide individual feedback for each assignment. An incomplete assignment is returned with your facilitator’s comments and a request to resubmit.


Following each lesson you will be able to complete a short quiz to evaluate your understanding of the subject matter presented within each lesson. You will receive automatic feedback on your performance.


Successful completion of this course requires you to:

  1. complete all activities within the prescribed time frame for each;
  2. receive a satisfactory rating for all three assignments;
  3. participate in each of the five discussion forums;
  4. complete the final feedback survey questionnaire.


Participants receive a certificate from the Public Health Agency of Canada upon successful completion of the course.

Registration information is available at Skills Online-Register For Courses page. Note: you must be registered and logged in to access the registration page.

Note: Completion of this course contributes to the following Learning Pathcertificates: