Policies and Programs

The County Health Rankings model illustrates the many factors that, if improved, can help make communities healthier places to live, learn, work, and play. Policies and programs at the local, state, and federal levels play an important role in influencing these factors. By implementing strategies that target the specific health challenges of a community, there is an opportunity to influence how long and how well people live.

There is a wide range of policies, programs, systems, and environmental changes that can make a difference locally. Some interventions target individual behaviors, such as influencing dietary choices, exercise levels, or alcohol consumption. Other strategies try to tackle systems and structures, such as enhancing opportunities for education, stimulating economic development, and increasing neighborhood safety.

No single strategy will ensure that everyone in the community can be healthier, and many policies and practices in the past have marginalized groups of residents, such as people of color, keeping them from the resources and supports necessary to thrive. Our collective health and well-being depend on building opportunity for everyone.

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps provides resources to help communities select and implement effective policies and programs:

  • What Works for Health: A searchable menu of more than 400 evidence-informed policies and programs that can make a difference locally.
  • Action Center: Guidance and tools for selecting and implementing health improvement strategies based on the unique needs and resources within a community.

See how this component fits into our model

To learn more, view our interactive model. Policies and Programs Health Factors Health Outcomes Length of Life (50%) Quality of Life (50%) Health Behaviors (30%) Tobacco Use Diet & Exercise Alcohol & Drug Use Sexual Activity Clinical Care (20%) Access to Care Quality of Care Social and Economic Factors (40%) Education Employment Income Family & Social Support Community Safety Physical Environment (10%) Air & Water Quality Housing & Transit County Health Rankings model © 2014 UWPHI