What Works for Health

Policies and programs that can improve health

Chronic disease management programs

Implement multi-component efforts that include coordination of health services by multidisciplinary teams of health care professionals, patient self-management, and patient education

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

Chronic disease self-management (CDSM) programs

Provide educational and behavioral interventions that support patients’ ability to actively manage their condition(s) in everyday life

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

Clean diesel technology fleet transition programs

Replace or retrofit diesel buses or other vehicles to operate with clean diesel technology

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Air and Water Quality

Clinic-based interventions for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination

Combine information about HPV and the benefits of vaccination with efforts to support vaccine series completion (e.g., patient and parent education or reminders, physician education, etc.)

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Sexual Activity

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for offenders

Use individual or group therapy to help offenders discover and change the thought processes that lead to maladaptive behavior

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

College access programs

Help underrepresented students prepare academically for college, complete applications, and enroll, especially first generation applicants and students from low income families

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

College-based obesity prevention educational interventions

Support multi-component educational interventions for college students that address nutrition, physical activity, and healthy weight management; often with environmental modifications

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

Community arts programs

Support locally-based visual, media, and performing arts initiatives for children and adults; also called participatory arts programs

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

Community centers

Support community venues that facilitate local residents’ efforts to socialize, participate in recreational or educational activities, gain information, and seek counseling or support services

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

Community Development Block Grants (CDBGs)

Provide funding for local community development activities such as affordable housing, anti-poverty programs, and infrastructure development

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

Community fitness programs

Offer exercise classes (e.g., yoga, Tai Chi, cycling, etc.) and fitness program support in community centers, senior centers, fitness, and community wellness centers

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

Community gardens

Establish and support land that is gardened or cultivated by community members via community land trusts, gardening education, zoning regulation changes, or service provision (e.g., water or waste disposal)

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

Community health workers

Engage professional or lay health workers to provide education, referral and follow-up, case management, home visiting, etc. for those at high risk for poor health outcomes; also called promotores de salud

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

Community kitchens for food processing

Establish shared kitchen spaces that support licensed, commercial food processing and connect specialty food processors, farmers, and others who produce value-added goods

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Diet and Exercise

Community kitchens for nutrition education

Use existing kitchen spaces for community members to share knowledge, resources, and labor to prepare, cook, and consume food, often with nutrition education provided for participants experiencing food insecurity

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

Community land trusts

Purchase land to lease to low and middle income homeowners and require them to sell the home back to the CLT or to another low income resident at an affordable price

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

Community policing

Implement a policing philosophy based on community partnership, organizational transformation, and problem solving techniques to proactively address public safety issues: also called community-oriented policing

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

Community schools

Combine academic, physical health, mental health, and social service resources in schools for students and families via partnerships with community organizations; also called community learning centers

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

Community supported agriculture (CSA)

Establish partnerships between farmers and consumers in which consumers purchase a share of a farm’s products in advance

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Diet and Exercise

Community water fluoridation

Adjust and monitor fluoride in public water supplies to reach and retain optimal fluoride concentrations

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

Community weight loss challenges

Support temporary programs that work to energize participants to lose weight via prizes, often combined with education, weight status and food intake tracking, regular check-ins, and group support

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Diet and Exercise

Community-based social support for physical activity

Build, strengthen, and maintain social networks that provide supportive relationships for behavior change through walking groups or other community-based interventions

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

Community-wide physical activity campaigns

Engage a variety of partners in a highly visible, multi-component effort to increase physical activity, often with efforts to address cardiovascular disease risk factors

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

Competitive pricing for healthy foods

Assign higher costs to non-nutritious foods than nutritious foods via incentives, subsidies, or price discounts for healthy foods and beverages or disincentives or price increases for unhealthy choices

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

Complete Streets & streetscape design initiatives

Enhance streetscapes with greater sidewalk coverage and walkway connectivity, street crossing safety features, traffic calming measures, and other design elements

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

Comprehensive clinic-based programs for pregnant & parenting teens

Address the needs of teenage mothers via clinic-based programs that provide health care and family planning services as well as case management, counseling, and other supports

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

Comprehensive firearm background checks

Require checks of a broad set of disqualifying criteria (e.g., misdemeanor convictions, domestic violence restraining orders, and juvenile convictions) prior to handgun purchase

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

Comprehensive risk reduction sexual education

Provide information about contraception and protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in classroom or community settings

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

Comprehensive school reform

Implement a coordinated effort to overhaul school operation, integrating curriculum, instruction, professional development, parent involvement, classroom and school management; also called school-wide or whole school reform

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

Computer-based interventions to prevent HIV and other STIs

Provide tailored health information and computer-mediated decision making, behavior change, and emotional support via interactive programs

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

Computerized clinical decision support systems (CDSS)

Provide health care providers with patient-specific prompts or warnings, treatment guidelines, automatic medication dosing calculators, or reports of overdue tests and medications via electronic tools

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

Computerized provider order entry (CPOE)

Allow health care providers to enter orders or prescriptions (e.g., imaging studies, laboratory tests, admissions, referrals, etc.) into a computer system; also called electronic prescribing

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

Condom availability programs

Provide condoms free of charge or at a reduced cost in community and school-based settings

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

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

Support the federal-state partnership that pays participating land owners an annual rental rate for removing environmentally sensitive land from production and introducing conservation practices on the land

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

Conservation tillage practices

Encourage methods of soil cultivation that keep at least one-third of cultivated soil covered with the previous year’s crop residue (e.g., mulch till, ridge till, strip till, or no-till)

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Air and Water Quality

Consumer participation in health care governance

Involve consumers in health care governance via roles on governing boards, advisory committees, or shorter-term special projects

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Quality of Care

Consumer-directed health plans

Establish high deductible health plans paired with pre-tax medical expense accounts such as Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) or Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and information tools

Evidence Rating:
Mixed Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Quality of Care

Court mandated programs for perpetrators of intimate partner violence

Expand court-referred intimate partner violence offenders’ understanding of abuse, teach alternative reactions, and work to change gender role attitudes; also called batterer intervention programs (BIPs)

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

Crisis lines

Provide free and confidential counseling and service referrals via telephone-based conversation, web-based chat, or text message to individuals in crisis, particularly those with severe mental health concerns

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

Cultural competence training for health care professionals

Increase health care providers’ skills and knowledge to understand and respond to cultural differences, value diversity, etc. via factual information, skills training, and other efforts

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

Culturally adapted health care

Tailor health care to patients’ norms, beliefs, and values, as well as their language and literacy skills

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

Cure Violence Health model

Detect and intervene in potentially violent situations, educate and mobilize communities, and connect high-risk individuals to services; formerly called Chicago CeaseFire

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

DARE to be You

Provide education and training sessions with parent-child activities and family meals for youth, parents, and care providers

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

Designated driver promotion programs

Encourage use of designated drivers via population-based mass media campaigns, incentive programs based in drinking establishments, and other efforts

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

Dram shop liability laws

Hold alcohol retailers legally responsible for injuries or damage caused by providing alcohol to intoxicated or underage customers; also called commercial host liability laws

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

Drink special restrictions

Limit or ban promotional events and unlimited beverages at a fixed price for a fixed period of time (e.g., happy hours, ladies’ nights, all-you-can-drink specials, etc.)

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

Dropout prevention programs

Provide supports such as mentoring, counseling, or vocational training, or undertake school environment changes to help students complete high school

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

Dropout prevention programs for teen mothers

Provide teen mothers with services such as remedial education, vocational training, case management, health care, child care, and transportation assistance to support high school completion

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

Drug courts

Use specialized courts to offer criminal offenders with drug dependency problems an alternative to adjudication or incarceration

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

E-cigarette regulations

Regulate use of e-cigarettes, especially among youth, via age restrictions, marketing restrictions, expanded smoke-free policies, etc.

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Tobacco Use