County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, A Healthier Nation, County by County

The County Health Rankings models and measures

Our Approach

The County Health Rankings model of population health

What can I do?

Action Center

Explore guides and tools for improving health.

What Works for Health

Explore programs and policies that work!

What can I learn from others?


Key findings from the last four years of County Health Rankings and other national reports.

County-by-County Blog

Project updates, commentaries, events and news about health across the nation from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps team.

Health Is

Where We Live
Where We Learn
Where We Work
Where We Play

Our 2017 Rankings are here! Read the 2017 Key Findings Report

Take Action

The Roadmaps to Health Action Center lays out a series of steps for creating healthy communities. Explore each of the seven steps below to find guidance and tools for taking action.
  1. Work Together
  2. Assess
  3. Focus
  4. Choose
  5. Act
  6. Evaluate
  7. Communicate
  1. Work Together

    Communities vary widely, and as a result, efforts to improve health will also vary. In the midst of all this variety is one constant: people working together. With a shared vision and commitment to improved health, working together can yield better results than working alone. 

    Common Questions
    • We want to include partners from all sectors to improve health, so how do we invite people to be part of our team when we don’t know them?
    • How do we build trust?
    • How do we move to action?
  2. Assess Needs & Resources

    One of your first steps in improving your community is to take stock. What challenges do you face? What strengths, assets, and resources do you have to help you face your challenges? Are there some who face challenges that others do not?

    Common Questions
    • What data will help us understand our community?
    • Where do we find data?
    • How do we know we have enough data?
    • What does all this data mean?
  3. Focus on What's Important

    Once you’ve accounted for your community’s needs and resources, it’s time to decide which problem(s) to tackle. Without focus, all issues seem equally important. Taking time to set priorities will ensure that you direct your community’s valuable and limited resources to the most important issues.

    Common Questions
    • What if everything feels like a priority?
    • How many priorities are reasonable?
    • What if members of our team disagree about priorities?
    • How can we narrow our focus?
  4. Choose Effective Policies & Programs

    Evidence matters. Taking time to choose policies and programs that have been shown to work in real life and that are a good fit for your community will maximize your chances of success.

    Common Questions
    • How do we know if a strategy will work?
    • Should we always pick the strategy that has the most evidence?
    • What about innovative approaches?
  5. Act on What's Important

    Once you’ve decided what you want to do, the next step is to make it happen. Since there are no “one size fits all” blueprints for success, communities build on strengths, leverage available resources, and respond to unique needs.

    Common Questions
    • What does it take to move from planning to action?
    • How do we create political will for our leaders to adopt new approaches?
    • How do we support our strategies?
  6. Evaluate Actions

    Evaluating your efforts is an important and ongoing part of improving your community’s health. Evaluation helps you know if what you’re doing is working the way you intended and achieving the results you desire.

    Common Questions
    • Where do we start with evaluation?
    • How do we know if we are making a difference?
    • How can we demonstrate progress in the short term?
  7. Communicate

    Effective and continuous communication is essential for your efforts to be successful. It’s important to consider how you will get your most important messages to the people who matter – both internally (how will you and your partners communicate with each other?) and externally (how will you communicate with others in your community?).

    Common Questions
    • How do we keep everyone who is working on our strategies up to date and in the loop?
    • How do we share our story so that others are inspired to improve health?

What Works

Maximize your chances of success by choosing policies and programs that have been shown to work in real life and that are a good fit for your community. Our What Works for Health database provides evidence summaries and ratings for policies, programs, and systems changes that can improve health. A sampling of them is included below.

View all Policies & Programs

Naloxone education & distribution programs

Support community members who are likely to encounter individuals who might overdose with education and training to administer naloxone and ensure all first responders are trained and authorized to administer naloxone

Health Factor(s):
Evidence Rating:

Some Evidence

Community policing

Implement a policing philosophy based on community partnership, organizational transformation, and problem solving techniques to proactively address public safety issues: also called community-oriented policing

Health Factor(s):
Evidence Rating:

Scientifically Supported

Career & technical education for high school graduation

Provide career and technical education (CTE) as an integrated part of an academic curriculum for students at risk of dropping out of high school; also called vocational training

Health Factor(s):
Evidence Rating:

Scientifically Supported

Universal school-based suicide awareness & education programs

Deliver a curriculum-based program that helps all students learn to recognize warning signs of suicide in themselves and others in a school setting

Health Factor(s):
Evidence Rating:

Some Evidence

View all Policies & Programs

Manchester’s Weaving Health into the Community’s Fabric: A Deeper Look

Featured Community Story

Weaving Health Into the Community’s Fabric: RWJF Culture of Health Prize winner Manchester, NH

Read more