Health Is
Where We Live
Where We Learn
Where We Work
Where We Play
Discover your State & County Health Ranking
Discover your State & County Health Ranking
 

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.

Summer learning programs

Provide academic instruction to students during the summer, often along with enrichment activities such as art or outdoor activities

Flexible scheduling

Offer employees control over an aspect of their schedule through arrangements such as flex time, flex hours, compressed work weeks, or self-scheduled shift work

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

Hot spot policing

Focus police resources and enforcement on high-activity crime locations within a community (e.g., street blocks and buildings) using policing tactics such as increasing enforcement time, problem-oriented policing, etc.

Take Action

The 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

    Working together is at the heart of making meaningful change. Every community is different, and as a result, efforts to improve health will vary. However, there is one constant we know: when people work together with a shared vision and commitment to improve health, it can yield better results than working alone.

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    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

    Start by taking stock. Consider the challenges you face. Identify your strengths, assets, and resources. Ask if there are some who face challenges that others do not.

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    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

    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 resources to the most important issues.

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    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. Selecting and implementing 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.

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    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

    Move to action. Since there are no “one size fits all” blueprints for success, communities build on strengths, leverage available resources, and respond to unique needs.

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    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

    Ongoing evaluation of your efforts helps you know if what you’re doing is working the way you intended and achieving the results you desire.

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    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 communication throughout each step is essential for your efforts to be successful. What you say and how you say it can motivate the right people to take the right action at the right time. How will you get your most important messages to the people who influence your work?

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    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?

Register for our newest webinar, Partnering with the Community!

Community engagement is a key component to advancing health equity. In Allen County, Kansas, a 2017 RWJF Culture of Health Prize-winning community, Thrive Allen County works to improve quality of life by creating conditions for residents to embrace their power and act collectively.

Join our webinar on Tuesday, November 20 at 3pm ET to learn more about their experiences and how you can partner with the community to improve health and advance equity. 

REGISTER