Skip Navigation

Strengthen the Evidence for Maternal and Child Health Programs

New: MCHbest strategies database for sample ESMs

Evidence Tools
MCHbest. Resources

MCHbest Logo

Understanding Evidence Ratings

To ensure that programs are meaningful and have the greatest potential to affect desired change, it’s critical that they are unbiased, significant to public health, and rooted in science, experience, and policy. They should show results that are statistically significant and lead to decisions that bring about change. By understanding what has worked in the past, we can build programs on proven successes.1 The evidence base includes peer-reviewed findings, promising practices, and other state ESMs currently in use. Evidence-based/informed programs should be:

The MCH Evidence Center has analyzed thousands of interventions to find strategies that have the potential to be effective in practice. These strategies can be mapped across a continuum of evidence that facilitates the most rigorous MCH science while also encouraging innovation:3

Evidence Continuum


1 Definition attributed to Milos Jenicek (1997). Retrieved from Evidence-based Medicine to Evidence-based Public Health, NYU Health Sciences Library.
2 Hagan JF. Making Bright Futures Work! How Evidence, the Periodicity Schedule, and the Bright Futures Guidelines Impact Practice. Presentation for Pediatric Care Online.
3 Adapted from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. What Works for Health.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U02MC31613, MCH Advanced Education Policy, $3.5 M. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.