What Works for Health

Policies and programs that can improve health

Healthy food in convenience stores

Encourage convenience stores, corner stores, or gas station markets to carry fresh produce and other healthier food options

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

Healthy food initiatives in food banks

Combine hunger relief efforts with nutrition information and healthy eating opportunities, often with on-site cooking demonstrations, recipe tastings, produce display stands, etc.

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

Healthy foods at catered events

Provide more fresh fruits and vegetables, smaller portions, low fat, and reduced sodium or reduced sugar food options and other healthy foods at catered events

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

Healthy home environment assessments

Train volunteers, professionals, or paraprofessionals to help residents assess and remediate environmental home health risks and recommend low cost changes (e.g., improved ventilation, integrated pest management, etc.)

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

Healthy school lunch initiatives

Modify the school lunch food environment by prominently displaying, marketing, and increasing the convenience of healthy foods and providing healthy options

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

Healthy vending machine options

Increase healthy options in vending machines by reducing the price of healthy choices, increasing the number of healthy choices compared to unhealthy choices, etc.

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

Helmets in collision sports

Use helmets to absorb, dissipate, and reduce impact forces to an athlete’s head and brain during collisions or falls

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

Higher education financial incentives for health professionals serving underserved areas

Expand incentives such as scholarships and loans with service requirements and loan repayment or forgiveness programs for health care providers who practice in rural or other underserved areas

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

HighScope Perry Preschool model

Provided high quality preschool with home visiting to low income, African-American children with an emphasis on active learning in Ypsilanti, Michigan

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

HIV/STI partner notification by providers

Elicit information about sex or needle-sharing partners from STI-positive patients, then notify partners of risk, testing, and services; also called contact tracing, or partner counseling and referral services

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

Holistic approaches to reduce risky sexual behavior among adolescents

Coordinate efforts to reduce risky sexual behavior among adolescents with work, vocational training, or sports

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

HOME Investment Partnership Program

Provide grants to states and localities to fund activities that build, buy, or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership or provide direct rental assistance to low income households

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

Home water temperature safety education

Educate families about safe tap water temperatures during prenatal or well-baby visits at clinic or home visits; often with home safety checks or home water temperature safety equipment

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

Homework or extra credit for PE class

Assign homework or extra credit activities for physical education (PE) or health classes that require students to be physically active outside of school

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

Hospital wristband color standardization

Establish national standards for the colors of patient wristbands used to alert health care providers about specific conditions such as allergies or elevated fall risk

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

Hot spot policing

Focus police resources and enforcement on high-activity crime locations within a community (e.g., street blocks and buildings) using policing tactics such as increasing enforcement time, problem-oriented policing, etc.

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

Household lead control education interventions

Inform parents about lead exposure pathways and cleaning and hygiene techniques and undertake minor repairs or specialized cleaning

Evidence Rating:
Evidence of Ineffectiveness
Health Factor(s):
Housing and Transit

Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)

Provide eligible low and very low income families with vouchers to help cover the costs of rental housing; also called Section 8

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

Housing First

Provide rapid access to permanent housing and support (e.g., crisis intervention, needs assessment, case management), usually for chronically homeless individuals with persistent mental illness or substance abuse issues

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

Housing mediation services

Facilitate mediation between tenants and landlords to resolve conflict and prevent eviction

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

Housing rehabilitation loan & grant programs

Provide funding, primarily to low or median income families, to repair, improve, or modernize dwellings and remove health or safety hazards

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

Housing trust funds

Support funds that help create or maintain low income housing, subsidize rental housing, and assist low income homebuyers and non-profit housing developers

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

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine education

Inform young women and men about HPV and its consequences as well as the benefits of vaccination via telephone, writing, video, or in-person efforts

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

Ignition interlock devices

Strengthen policies that mandate ignition interlock installation in vehicles to prevent operation by a driver with a high blood alcohol concentration

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

In-vehicle monitoring & feedback for novice drivers and families

Support use of in-vehicle devices that alert novice drivers when they have high g-force events (e.g., rapid acceleration, braking, or turning) and allow families to review driving performance later

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

Inclusionary zoning

Require developers to reserve a proportion of housing units for low income residents via mandatory requirements or incentives such as density bonuses

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

Incredible Years

Support young children who exhibit or are at risk for behavioral problems with interpersonal relationship training and parents and teachers who are trained to meet their needs

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

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)

Support subsidized asset accumulation programs in which deposits by low and moderate income participants are matched by program sponsors; withdrawals must be used for qualified expenses to retain matching funds

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

Individual incentives for public transportation

Offer incentives such as free or discounted bus, rail, or transit passes, reimbursements, partial payments, or pre-tax payroll deductions to encourage individuals’ use of existing public transit

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

Individually-adapted physical activity programs

Teach behavioral skills that can help individuals incorporate physical activity into their daily routines

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

Integrated long-term care for community-dwelling frail elders

Support a collaborative approach by a multidisciplinary team of professionals working to meet the full range of long-term care (LTC) needs for frail elderly patients living in community settings

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

Integrated pest management (IPM) for agriculture & outdoor use

Support a four-tiered approach to outdoor pest control that minimizes potential hazards to people, property, and the environment

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

Integrated pest management for indoor use

Support a four-tiered approach to indoor pest control that minimizes potential hazards to people, property, and the environment

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

Intensive case management for pregnant & parenting teens

Provide pregnant or parenting teens with services based upon their needs (e.g., counseling, connections to health care or social services, academic support, etc.) in school or community settings

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

Intergenerational communities

Create communities that promote interaction and cooperation between individuals of different ages and focus on the needs of all residents, especially children and older adults

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

Intergenerational mentoring

Establish a relationship between an older adult and an at-risk child or adolescent; programs are often based in schools, community centers, or faith-based organizations

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

Internet-based tobacco cessation interventions

Use websites, computer programs, and other electronic means to provide information, strategies, or behavioral support to tobacco users who want to quit, sometimes with counseling or pharmacotherapy

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

J-1 physician visa waivers

Expand use of J-1 physician visa waivers for foreign-born physicians who have trained in the US and will serve patients in designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs)

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

Job-sharing programs

Offer flexible working arrangements, allowing the duties of a single full-time position to be covered by two part-time employees

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

Juvenile curfews

Restrict youth under a certain age from being in public places during certain hours, usually at night

Evidence Rating:
Evidence of Ineffectiveness
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

Keg registration laws

Require unique identifiable markers (e.g., purchaser’s name and address, date of birth, etc.) on returnable kegs of beer sold for private use

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

Kinship foster care for children in the child welfare system

Arrange full-time foster care by relatives or adults who are not a child’s parent but have a family relationship with the child when a child is removed from home due to a safety concern

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

Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) in middle schools

Emphasize high expectations for all students, parent and student commitment, empowered principals, and regular student assessments that inform continuous improvement in a lengthened school-year and school-day

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

Land banking

Acquire, hold, manage, and develop properties such as vacant lots, abandoned buildings, or foreclosures, and transition them to productive uses, often affordable housing developments

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

Later middle and high school start times

Delay school start times for middle and high schools to better align with adolescent sleep-wake cycles; often until after 8:30 or 9:00 a.m.

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

Lead contaminated soil abatement

Clean, remove, replace, or cover lead contaminated soil with non-contaminated soil, mulch, sod, grass, or concrete

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

Lead paint abatement programs

Eliminate lead-based paint and contaminated dust by removing or encapsulating lead paint, or removing lead painted fixtures and surfaces

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

Lead pipe & plumbing material replacement

Replace lead plumbing material such as pipes, service lines, fittings, solder, flux, and fixtures with non-lead plumbing material

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

Legal support for tenants in eviction proceedings

Provide legal representation for tenants with low incomes in eviction proceedings or offer limited legal assistance to prepare tenants to represent themselves in court

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

Living wage laws

Establish locally or state mandated wages that are higher than federal minimum wage levels

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