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

Motivating Communities to Improve the Health of Their Populations

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Could Incentives Prompt Communities to Implement Policies Shown to Improve Health?
The September 2010 edition of Preventing Chronic Disease—a journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—features a set of essays and articles examining different ways to encourage communities to adopt policies that have been shown to improve health.

The essays were commissioned by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute as part of the Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health (MATCH) initiative, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. A key component of MATCH is the County Health Rankings, the first set of reports to rank the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states.

The articles were authored by population health research experts who each took a unique perspective to considering how incentives might motivate community leaders to implement policies and programs shown to improve health. Some of the incentives explored include the use of pay for performance, metrics and rewards (a technique that has been used in the education sector) and social marketing techniques to educate people about the benefits afforded by healthy behaviors such as exercise and healthy eating.

The articles are the second of three MATCH-commissioned sets of essays on population health topics to appear in the journal. The July issue featured essays exploring the selection and use of metrics in an effort to improve population health. In November, Preventing Chronic Disease will publish papers on establishing partnerships to increase accountability and enact public health policies.