PSR Quick Start Guide

To help health officials and other public health leaders begin using the Prevention Status Reports (PSRs), CDC has created the PSR Quick Start Guide. The guide provides tips and tools for using the PSRs to increase the use of evidence-based public health practices and improve health outcomes in your state.

Using the PSRs to Advance Evidence-Based Policy and Practice

You can use the PSRs to support public health planning, priority setting, and communication in your state. Although the PSRs include data about public health problems, their primary focus is on policies and practices that can prevent or reduce health risk behaviors and lead to improved health outcomes. In other words, the PSRs focus on solutions. The status ratings for selected policies and practices are the most useful feature of the PSRs.

Below are some tips to help you start using the PSRs to increase the use of evidence-based public health practice and improve health outcomes in your state.

Suggested Uses for the PSRs Quick Start Questions
Planning and Priority Setting Identify public health policy and practice priorities across a range of public health topics (or within a specific topic of interest) Based on the PSR status ratings, which policies and practices provide the most opportunity for improvement?
Inform existing state priorities, initiatives, programs, and strategies (e.g., state health improvement plans, coalition action plans, performance improvement plans, strategic plans) What are the existing health priorities in your state? Can PSR data and information be used to inform decisions for addressing these priorities? Would adopting or strengthening the PSR policies and practices help advance these priorities?

Which PSR indicators could be integrated into existing performance management or evaluation activities?

Communication Highlight health problems and improvement opportunities How can the PSRs (especially the Problem and Status sections) be used or adapted to educate stakeholders about the value and impact of prevention? Think about use in legislative briefings, community meetings, grant writing, budget hearings, etc.
Promote use of evidence-based and expert-recommended public health policies and practices How can data and information from the PSRs be used to educate stakeholders about evidence-based public health policies and practices? Consider all rating levels: green (what’s being done well) as well as any rating (green, yellow, or red) that could be improved.

Which stakeholders should receive this information? Consider program staff, internal and/or external partners, decision-makers, local health departments, etc.

Next Steps

Use the PSR Quick Start Worksheet on pages 3 and 4 of the guide to identify 1) factors that might challenge or support implementation and improvement of PSR policies and practices and 2) stakeholders who may be necessary to support and implement those improvements.

Did you find the PSR Quick Start Guide helpful? Have you used the guide in your state? If so, let us know at

Page last reviewed: January 21, 2014