What Works for Health

Policies and programs that can improve health

Early childhood home visiting programs

Provide at-risk expectant parents and families with young children with information, support, and training regarding child health, development, and care from prenatal stages through early childhood via trained home visitors

Evidence Rating:
Scientifically Supported
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety, Family and Social Support

Early Head Start (EHS)

Provide child care, parent education, physical health and mental health services, and other family supports to pregnant women and parents with low incomes and children aged 0 to 3

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

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Expand refundable earned income tax credits for low to moderate income working individuals and families

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

Electronic Benefit Transfer payment at farmers markets

Enable farmers markets to accept EBT, the electronic payment system of debit cards used to issue and redeem Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits

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

Electronic health information exchange

Share patient data electronically between different health care organizations, allowing providers to see necessary portions of a patient’s medical record outside the patient’s usual clinic

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

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)

Provide confidential worksite-based counseling and referrals to employees to address personal and workplace challenges

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

Enhanced enforcement of laws prohibiting alcohol sales to minors

Initiate or increase retailer compliance checks for laws that prohibit alcohol sales to minors, often as part of a multi-faceted effort

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

Enhanced seat belt enforcement programs

Add publicity and other strategies (e.g., supplemental patrols, increased officers, etc.) to efforts to enforce existing seat belt laws

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

Exercise and work-oriented back pain management programs

Support worksite exercise and physical conditioning programs for low back pain; also called work conditioning, work hardening, or functional restoration/exercise programs

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

Exercise prescriptions

Provide patients with prescriptions for exercise plans, often accompanied by progress checks at office visits, counseling, activity logs, and exercise testing

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

Expedited partner therapy for treatable STIs

Provide prescriptions or medications to patients diagnosed with treatable STIs to give to their partners without provider visits; also called patient-delivered partner therapy (PDPT)

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

Extracurricular activities for physical activity

Provide chances for kids and adolescents to be active and play sports at various skill levels via structured or unstructured after- and before- school athletic activities

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

Extracurricular activities for social engagement

Support organized social, art, or physical activities for school-aged youth outside of the school day

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

Families and Schools Together

Convene small groups of families for facilitated weekly meetings that include a family meal, structured activities, parent support time, and parent-child play therapy

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

Family treatment drug courts

Use specialized courts to work with parents involved in the child welfare system who may lose custody of their children due to substance abuse

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

Family-based physical activity interventions

Increase family members’ support for physical activity, often via educational sessions on health, goal-setting, problem-solving, or family behavioral management

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

Farm to school programs

Incorporate locally grown foods into school meals and snacks, often with visits from food producers, cooking classes, nutrition and waste reduction efforts, and school gardens

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

Farmers markets

Support multiple vendor markets where producers sell goods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy items, and prepared foods directly to consumers

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

Father involvement programs

Support fathers’ active involvement in child rearing via various father-focused or family-focused interventions

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

Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs)

Increase support for non-profit health care organizations and deliver comprehensive care to uninsured, underinsured, and vulnerable patients regardless of ability to pay; often called community health centers (CHCs)

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

Financial education for adults

Provide one-on-one or group adult education programs that cover topics such as basic budgeting, bank use, credit management, bankruptcy, credit building and counseling, homeownership, retirement, divorce, etc.

Evidence Rating:
Insufficient Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Income

Financial incentives for new nursing faculty

Offer loan repayment, tuition assistance, competitive academic salaries, etc. to students who teach in nursing programs after completing an advanced degree

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Access to Care

Financial rewards for employee healthy behavior

Offer payments, vouchers, credits toward health insurance premiums, or other financial rewards to encourage employees to lose weight, eat more healthily, quit smoking, engage in physical activity, etc.

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

Firearm licensing laws

Require a potential purchaser to obtain a permit or license before purchasing a firearm

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

Firearm restrictions for domestic violence offenders

Prohibit firearm purchase or possession by individuals convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence or by individuals subject to a final restraining order

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

Flexible scheduling

Offer employees control over an aspect of their schedule through arrangements such as flex time, flex hours, compressed work weeks, or self-scheduled shift work

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

Focused deterrence strategies

Target a particular crime through law enforcement and community agency cooperation and coordination of various deterrents and social services; also called pulling levers policing

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

Food buying clubs & co-ops

Offer opportunities for group purchase and distribution of selected grocery items, generally at a reduced price

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

Food hubs

Support businesses or organizations that aggregate, distribute, and market local and regional food products (e.g., fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy, grains, and prepared items)

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

Fruit & vegetable gleaning initiatives

Gather food left in fields after a primary harvest, food in fields where harvesting is not profitable, or excess produce from orchards, packing houses, urban agriculture sites, etc.

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

Fruit & vegetable incentive programs

Offer low-income participants matching funds to purchase healthy foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables; often called bonus dollars, market bucks, produce coupons, or nutrition incentives

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

Fruit & vegetable taste testing

Offer samples of fresh fruits and vegetables in cafeterias, nutrition classes, school gardens, or workplace well-being meetings, often as part of a multi-faceted nutrition intervention

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

Full child support pass-through and disregard

Adopt policies that allow custodial parents who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to collect all child support paid by the non-custodial parent; no portion is retained by the state

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

Full-day kindergarten

Offer kindergarten programs for 4 to 6-year-old children, five days per week for at least five hours per day

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

Functional Family Therapy (FFT)

Introduce a short-term family-based intervention therapy focused on strengths, protective factors and risk factors for youth with delinquency, violence, or substance abuse problems, and their families

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

GED certificate programs

Implement programs that help individuals without a high school diploma or its equivalent achieve a General Education Development (GED) certificate

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

Georgia Fatherhood Program

Provide employment-based services for non-custodial fathers who pay child support and experience a job loss or a decrease in income

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

Good Samaritan drug overdose laws

Provide immunity from arrest, charge, or prosecution for drug possession or paraphernalia when individuals experiencing or witnessing drug overdose summon emergency services

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

Grady Memorial Hospital Interpregnancy Care Program

Provided case management, care coordination, medical care, and substance abuse treatment and referrals to black women who had recently delivered a very low birthweight infant in the Atlanta area

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Access to Care

Green House homes

Support self-contained, homelike dwellings for 10-12 elderly adults who require nursing care; universal caregivers, usually CNAs, provide care and other supports while clinical teams visit for specialized care

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

Green space & parks

Increase recreational green space through new parks or open spaces, renovation or enhancement of under-used recreation areas, rehabilitation of vacant lots, brownfields, etc.

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

Grocery, housing & utilities cooperatives

Establish a non-share capital cooperative model in which fee-paying members can share the communal resources of a grocery, house, or utility cooperative

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

Group-based parenting programs

Teach parenting skills in a group setting using a standardized curriculum, often based on behavioral or cognitive-behavioral approaches and focused on parents of at-risk children

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

Health care provider reminder systems for tobacco cessation

Implement systems that help health professionals support patient tobacco cessation, often with referrals, self-help pamphlets, and pharmacotherapy

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

Health care screening & follow-up for intimate partner violence

Assesses past or present experience of intimate partner violence among female patients in health care settings and provides follow-ups such as counseling or referrals for services

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

Health career recruitment for minority students

Recruit and train minority students for careers in health fields via information about health careers, classes, practicum experiences, advising about college or medical school admissions, etc.

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

Health insurance enrollment outreach & support

Provide health insurance outreach and support to assist individuals whose employers do not offer affordable coverage, who are self-employed, or who are unemployed

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

Health literacy interventions

Increase patients’ health-related knowledge via efforts to simplify health education materials, improve patient-provider communication, and increase overall literacy

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

Healthy Births for Healthy Communities

Provided case management, medical care, reproductive education, a medical home, and help with reproductive and self-management goals in the 18 months after an adverse birth outcome for Chicago-area women

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

Healthy Families America (HFA)

Provide home visiting services to families who are at risk for adverse childhood experiences, starting prenatally or right after birth and continuing for three to five years

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