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.

Explore policies and programs

Once you know your goal, it’s time to choose a strategy to help you achieve it. But where to look?

Start Here. What Works for Health is a great starting place to find ideas to address your community’s priorities. Our evidence team searches out, assesses, and summarizes the best available evidence. They look for policies and programs that can help improve health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment. This information can give you a sense of what works, what might work, and what does not work. What Works for Health supports the use of tried and true strategies as well as innovative approaches to thorny problems.

What Works for Health Navigation Tips

  • Search by keyword (e.g., obesity, poverty), OR  
  • Browse strategies by decision maker, health factor, or evidence rating.
  • Use Choosing Your Strategy to understand and apply evidence ratings.

Look at …

  • The Evidence rating to get a sense of how likely each strategy is to work, based on best available evidence
  • The Expected Beneficial Outcomes to understand what each strategy can accomplish
  • The Impact on Disparity rating to get a sense of how a strategy will likely impact disparities or gaps among:
  • Socio-economic groups
  • Racial or ethnic groups
  • Geographic areas (i.e., urban vs. rural)
  • The Implementation examples & resources to get ideas of how you might move forward.

Working in a rural community? Check out our What Works? Strategies to Improve Rural Health:

Defining What Works. Other groups also assess and rate policy and program effectiveness. You might find different kinds of evidence to support strategies and different labels describing how well they work (e.g., promising practice, best practice, model program, etc.). These labels (and how groups arrive at them) are not apples-to-apples comparisons. Each group has its own criteria and labels. It’s important to understand what they mean. As an example, check out our explanation of the evidence ratings in What Works for Health.

(You may find it helpful to look at some of these sites along with What Works for Health.)

From Tried and True to New and (Maybe) Improved. There’s a time and a place for innovation. If you’re deciding whether to come up with a new approach or adopt an existing one, consider:

  • How well do existing strategies fit your community’s culture and needs?
  • How much time and resources does your community have to spend?
  • Can you evaluate your innovative strategy?