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.

Consider your community

Communities are not always ready for change. The following questions help you know if your community is ready to support your strategy. (Hint: Involving the community along the way helps build support.)

  • Do community members understand the issue we seek to address?
  • Is it important to them?
  • Is our strategy supported by people who are most affected by poor health?
  • Do community members understand how a potential strategy will impact the issue?
  • How readily does our community accept change?
  • Do community members support current strategies that aim to address the issue? How about similar strategies addressing other issues?

Your community can help you influence those who have the power to give you what you want. The next Key Activity, Consider your stakeholders, asks you to identify key decision makers and those who influence them.

In-depth resource. The Community Readiness Model, a comprehensive tool that can help you measure whether your community is ready for change, identify the obstacles you’re likely to meet as you move forward, and work within the community’s culture to come up with appropriate actions. It is not an assessment of whether an issue is actually affecting a community and it doesn’t tell you what to do to increase your community’s readiness levels.

Values. The policies a community implements reflect its values. What we do and where we put our resources demonstrates what is most important to us.

Nearly all policies are based in one of four values: Equity/Fairness, Efficiency, Liberty/Freedom of choice, and Security/Future. What does your community value most? As you explore this question, it’s important to include a variety of perspectives.


Ensuring that resources are fairly distributed.


  • You might say “Our community works to ensure everyone has equal access to resources and opportunities.”


Ensuring the community gets the biggest bang for its buck.


  • You might say “Our community cares about what things cost and how much ‘heavy lifting’ implementation requires.”

Liberty/Freedom of choice

Ensuring the individual right to choose.


  • You might say “Our community believes no one should have to follow certain rules and regulations for the good of the whole.”



Ensuring health today and tomorrow.


  • You might say “Our community works to ensure the future generation’s health and well-being.”


Example: A school policy that says vending machine options must be healthy


Does the policy align with our community’s values?

Potential Responses





“We’ll all eat better with healthier vending machine choices.”



“Kids aren’t going to spend money on healthy items. We’re going to lose money!” (Although, What Works for Health tells us this isn’t often true.)


“We’ll need to re-bid for a new vendor. We don’t have time for that right now.”

Liberty/Freedom of choice


“Kids should be able to eat what they want.”



“We want to make sure our kids grow up healthy!”

Resources. Readiness also means having what you need to implement and evaluate your strategy. Consider the following questions when thinking about resources.

  • Can we leverage existing resources and assets? For example, could you work with others to build on existing efforts? Could your strategy complement existing efforts? Did you create an asset map earlier in your process? If so, it could come in handy as you consider this question.
  • Do we have to pursue funding to make our strategy happen? The Act on What’s Important step includes guidance on identifying resources to support your activities. The Funding Guide: Securing additional resources for community health improvement includes key elements that should be in place before you pursue funding.
  • Do we have funding to evaluate our strategy?