What Works for Health

Policies and programs that can improve health

Active recess

Establish a break from the school day, typically before lunch, that involves planned, inclusive, actively supervised games or activities; also called semi-structured, or structured recess

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Diet and Exercise

Activity programs for older adults

Offer group educational, social, or physical activities that promote social interactions, regular attendance, and community involvement among older adults

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Diet and Exercise, Family and Social Support

Administrative license suspension/revocation laws

Enable law enforcement officials to take an individual’s drivers license when that individual refuses or fails a chemical test such as a breathalyzer

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Alcohol and Drug Use

Adult vocational training

Support acquisition of job-specific skills through education, certification programs, or on-the-job training, often with personal development resources and other supports

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Employment

Advocacy for victims of intimate partner violence

Work to empower victims of intimate partner violence, help them with safety plans, and link them with community services (e.g., legal, housing, financial advice, emergency shelter, etc.)

Evidence Rating:
Insufficient Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

Affordable housing tax increment financing (TIF)

Create designated tax districts that generate revenue to invest in affordable housing initiatives, blight remediation, and economic development efforts

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Housing and Transit

Alcohol access restrictions in public places

Restrict alcohol availability and use at sporting events, other public events (e.g., concerts and street fairs) and in public spaces such as parks and beaches

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Alcohol and Drug Use

Alcohol advertising restrictions

Restrict the content and placement of alcohol advertisements via local ordinances, state laws, or industry self-regulation

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Alcohol and Drug Use

Alcohol brief interventions

Provide information and increase motivation to change or prevent problematic alcohol consumption in a short session; also called alcohol screening & brief intervention

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Alcohol and Drug Use

Alcohol days of sale restrictions

Limit the days alcohol can be sold in on-premise settings such as bars and restaurants or in off-premise outlets such as liquor and convenience stores; sometimes with limits to times of sale

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Alcohol and Drug Use

Alcohol outlet density restrictions

Use regulatory authority to reduce density of alcohol beverage outlets (i.e., places that sell alcohol) or limit increases in the density of such outlets

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Alcohol and Drug Use

Alcohol taxes

Increase the price of alcohol via regular adjustments to taxes levied for beer, wine, and liquor purchases

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Alcohol and Drug Use

Allied dental professional scope of practice

Expand the role of allied dental professionals (e.g., hygienists, therapists, etc.) via changes to statute, dentist supervision requirements, etc.

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Access to Care

Alternative fuels initiatives

Support alternative fuel and vehicle use via financial incentives (e.g., tax benefits, rebates, etc.), mandates (e.g., consumption targets or renewable fuel standards), research and development investments, etc.

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Air and Water Quality

Alternative high schools for at-risk students

Provide educational and social services in an alternative setting for students at-risk of dropping out of traditional high schools

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Education

Attendance interventions for chronically absent students

Support interventions that provide chronically absent students with resources to improve self-esteem, social skills, etc. and address familial and school-related factors that can contribute to poor attendance

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Education

Ban the Box

Prohibit criminal history questions on job applications and postpone background checks

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Employment

Behavioral health primary care integration

Revise health care processes and provider roles to integrate mental health and substance abuse treatment into primary care; continue to refer patients with severe conditions to specialty care

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Quality of Care

Behavioral interventions to prevent HIV and other STIs

Use individual, group, and community-level interventions to provide education, support, and training that can affect social norms about HIV and other STIs

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Sexual Activity

Bicycle helmet laws

Establish laws that require bicyclists to wear helmets; laws can apply to children or all bicyclists and can be established at the state or local level

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

Bicycle paths, lanes & tracks

Accommodate or provide dedicated space for bicyclists via bicycle paths, lanes, cycle tracks or protected bike lanes, etc.

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS)

Match disadvantaged or at-risk youth with volunteer mentors in school or community settings

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety, Education

Bike & pedestrian master plans

Establish a framework to increase walking and biking trails and improve connectivity of non-auto paths and trails in a particular area

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Housing and Transit, Diet and Exercise

Birthing Project SisterFriends

Provide one-on-one advice, education, and emotional and social support to women of color, by volunteer women of color, during pregnancy and for one year after birth

Evidence Rating:
Insufficient Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Family and Social Support

Blood alcohol concentration laws

Set legal limits for drivers’ blood alcohol concentrations (BACs)

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Alcohol and Drug Use

Breastfeeding promotion programs

Provide education, information, counseling, and support for breastfeeding to women throughout pre- and post-natal care

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Diet and Exercise

Breath testing checkpoints

Implement checkpoints where law enforcement officers can stop drivers suspected of drinking and driving and assess their level of alcohol impairment; also called sobriety checkpoints

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Alcohol and Drug Use

Bridge programs for hard-to-employ adults

Provide basic skills (e.g., reading, math, writing, English language, or soft skills) and industry-specific training with other supports; often incorporated in career pathway programs

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Education, Employment

CAFO regulations

Establish local regulations for confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) that address location, size, facility management, and pollution contributions to complement US EPA regulations

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Air and Water Quality

Campus alcohol bans

Restrict alcohol consumption anywhere on a college or university campus or ban alcohol only in specific areas (e.g., residence halls)

Evidence Rating:
Insufficient Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Alcohol and Drug Use

Car seat distribution & education programs

Provide parents with car seats free of charge, via loan or low cost rental, often with installation support

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

Car seat education & enforcement campaigns

Share information about the importance of proper car seat use and enforce existing laws via checkpoints, dedicated law enforcement officials, etc.

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

Car seat incentive & education programs

Educate parents and caregivers about proper use of car seats and reward parents and/or children for correct use

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

Career & technical education for high school graduation

Provide career and technical education (CTE) as an integrated part of an academic curriculum for students at risk of dropping out of high school; also called vocational training

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Education

Career Academies

Establish small learning communities in high schools focused on fields such as health care, finance, technology, communications, or public service

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Education

Career pathways and sector-focused employment programs

Provide occupation-specific training in high-growth industries and sectors, combining education and supportive services, usually with stackable credentials and work experience

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Employment

Carpool & rideshare programs

Help commuters share transportation through informal arrangements between individuals, formally arranged dynamic ridesharing programs, or other ride-matching services

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Air and Water Quality, Housing and Transit

Case-managed care for community-dwelling frail elders

Use a case management model for frail elderly patients living independently, coordinating aspects of long-term care (LTC) such as status assessment, monitoring, advocacy, care planning, etc.

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Quality of Care

Cell phone-based support programs

Deliver real-time ongoing treatment, information, or self-monitoring support to individuals with mental health concerns via mobile phone applications (apps) or texts

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Family and Social Support

Cell phone-based tobacco cessation interventions

Deliver tobacco cessation advice and motivational messages via text or video message

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Tobacco Use

CenteringPregnancy

Provide prenatal care in a group setting, integrating health assessment, education, and support

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Access to Care

Certificates of employability

Issue certificates of employability to individuals with criminal convictions who have met pre-specified standards of rehabilitation; also called certificates of reentry, good conduct, rehabilitation, relief, recovery, etc.

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Employment

Charter schools

Establish publicly financed schools that are not subject to many of the regulations that govern traditional public schools, such as staffing, curriculum, and budgeting requirements

Evidence Rating:
Mixed Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Education

Chicago Child-Parent Centers

Provide preschool education and comprehensive support to low income families, including small classes, student meals, and home visits with referrals for social service support as needed

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Education

Child bicycle helmet promotion programs

Promote child bicycle helmet use via health education, media campaigns, or provision of free or low-cost helmets

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

Child care subsidies

Provide financial assistance to working parents, or parents attending school, to pay for center-based or certified in-home child care

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Income

Child firearm access prevention laws

Impose penalties on adults for a child’s unsupervised access to firearms or violation of safe firearm storage requirements

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

Child tax credit expansion

Expand federal or state child tax credits by increasing eligibility by age (e.g., to families with 17 and 18 year old children), increasing credit amounts, making credits refundable, or creating a fully refundable supplement

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Income

Child-focused advertising restrictions for unhealthy foods & beverages

Restrict child-focused advertising for unhealthy foods and beverages via bans on unhealthy food and drink ads during children’s TV programs, product placement in children’s movies, etc.

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Diet and Exercise

Children's savings accounts

Establish dedicated children’s savings account (CSAs) to build assets over time with contributions from family, friends, and sometimes, supporting organizations; also called children’s development accounts (CDAs)

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Income, Education