What Works for Health

Policies and programs that can improve health

Long-acting reversible contraception access

Increase access to LARCs through cost reduction, comprehensive birth control counseling, provider training, efforts to ensure availability at local clinics, etc.

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

Long-term care employee compensation

Increase wages and benefits for personal or home care workers, nurse aides, and others who provide direct care to patients in long-term care (LTC) settings

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

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Provide funds to help low income households meet home energy needs, especially households with members who are young or elderly, or have disabilities

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

Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs)

Provide funding via tax credits at the state and local level to support development and rehabilitation costs of low income rental housing

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

Magnolia Project

Provide prenatal and interconception care, family planning and case management services, and group-based education to eligible women via Healthy Start

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

Mass media campaigns against alcohol-impaired driving

Use mass media campaigns to persuade individuals to avoid drinking and driving or to prevent others from doing so; campaigns often focus on fear of arrest or injury to self, others, or property

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

Mass media campaigns against tobacco use

Use broad media-based efforts to educate large groups of current and potential tobacco users about the dangers of tobacco use

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

Mass media campaigns against underage & binge drinking

Use television, radio, print, and social media efforts to increase adult awareness of underage drinking and its consequences

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

Mass media campaigns for physical activity

Provide messages that support physical activity to large and broad audiences using newspapers, radio, television, and billboards

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

Mass media campaigns to prevent pregnancy & STIs

Use TV, radio, internet, and print media to disseminate information about safe sex behaviors

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

Matched dollar incentives for saving tax refunds

Support programs that provide matched dollar incentives for low or moderate income individuals to place some or all of their tax refund in a savings account

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

Media restrictions on sexual content

Reduce child and adolescent access to sexual content in television, movies, music, and videogames via rating systems, parental advisories, parental guidelines, etc.

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

Medical homes

Provide continuous, comprehensive, whole person primary care that uses a coordinated team of medical providers across the health care system

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

Medical marijuana legalization

Allow eligible patients to use marijuana for medical purposes; often called medical marijuana laws (MMLs)

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

Medical-legal partnerships

Integrate legal services into health care settings to address legal issues that affect health (e.g., housing, food, utilities); services provided by private practice lawyers, law students, etc.

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

Medication-assisted treatment access enhancement initiatives

Provide medications such as methadone to individuals diagnosed with opioid use disorder in outpatient, residential, and hospital settings, usually with counseling and behavioral therapies; often called MAT

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

Mental health benefits legislation

Regulate mental health insurance to increase access to mental health services, including treatment for substance use disorders

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

Mental Health First Aid

Provide an 8 or 12 hour training to educate laypeople about how to assist individuals with mental health problems or at risk for problems such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders

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

Mentoring for new nurses

Pair new nurses with more experienced nurses who act as a resource and provide support as the new nurse establishes her or himself professionally

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

Mentoring programs for high school graduation

Establish programs that connect at-risk students with trained adult volunteers who provide ongoing guidance for academic and personal challenges

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

Mentoring programs: delinquency

Enlist mentors to develop relationships and spend time individually with at-risk mentees for an extended period; mentors have greater knowledge, skills, etc. than mentees

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

Microfinance & microenterprise

Support programs that provide small loans, usually to disadvantaged individuals, to start or expand a small business, often with business training and other assistance

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

Minimum drinking age laws

Maintain the current age below which the purchase or public consumption of alcoholic beverages is illegal; currently 21 in all states

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

Minimum tobacco age laws

Increase the minimum legal tobacco age to purchase or publicly consume tobacco to 21; also called Tobacco 21

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

Minimum wage increases

Increase the lowest hourly, daily, or monthly compensation that employers may legally pay to workers

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

Mixed-use development

Support a combination of land uses (e.g., residential, commercial, recreational) in development initiatives, often through zoning regulations or Smart Growth initiatives

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

Mobile health for mental health

Deliver health care services and support to individuals with mental health concerns via mobile devices using text messaging or mobile applications (apps)

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

Mobile markets

Support fresh food carts or vehicles that travel to neighborhoods on a set schedule to sell fresh fruits and vegetables

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

Mobile reproductive health clinics

Offer reproductive health services (e.g., pregnancy tests, prenatal and postpartum care, gynecological exams, STI screenings, etc.), health education, and social service referrals via medically equipped vans

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

Multi-component community interventions against alcohol-impaired driving

Work to reduce alcohol-impaired driving via sobriety checkpoints, responsible beverage service training, education and awareness activities, and other efforts

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

Multi-component fall prevention interventions for older adults

Provide a fixed, multi-component set of fall prevention interventions to older adults, usually in community settings, without an individualized risk assessment

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

Multi-component groundwater management programs

Address soil and water quality concerns via regular groundwater monitoring, education about risks to groundwater, water quotas and taxes, and other efforts

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

Multi-component interventions: pregnancy and STIs

Support initiatives that combine classroom instruction, individual counseling, and broad community efforts to reduce pregnancy and STIs among youth

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

Multi-component obesity prevention interventions

Combine educational, environmental, and behavioral activities that increase physical activity and improve nutrition (e.g., nutrition education, aerobic/strength training, dietary prescriptions, etc.) in various settings

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

Multi-component school-based obesity prevention interventions

Deliver educational, behavioral, environmental, and other obesity prevention efforts (e.g., education classes, enhanced physical education, healthy food promotion, family outreach, etc.) in schools

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

Multi-component workplace supports for active commuting

Provide physical infrastructure (e.g., bike parking or showers), educational or social support (e.g., walking groups), and financial incentives that support active commuting

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

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) for juvenile offenders

Use an intensive, family- and community-based intervention that addresses individual, family and environmental risk factors that affect antisocial behaviors among serious juvenile offenders

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

Naloxone education & distribution programs

Support community members who are likely to encounter individuals who might overdose with education and training to administer naloxone and ensure all first responders are trained and authorized to administer naloxone

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

National Fatherhood Initiative's 24/7 Dad

Help men improve their parenting skills and fathering knowledge via a voluntary, comprehensive fatherhood program

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

National Fatherhood Initiative's InsideOut Dad

Connect incarcerated fathers to their families and prepare them for release via small group education sessions that address fathering knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors

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

Neighborhood associations

Establish formal bodies that connect residents who work together to improve the geographic area in which they and others live

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

Neighborhood watch

Support the efforts of neighborhood residents to work together in preventing crime by reporting suspicious or potentially criminal behavior to local law enforcement

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

New grocery stores in underserved areas

Attract new grocery stores that sell a variety of fresh foods, baked goods, packaged, and frozen items to underserved areas via financing initiatives or zoning regulation

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

New Hope Project

Provided work supports for low income individuals and families (e.g., job search assistance, transitional jobs, subsidized child care, health insurance, etc.); participants worked at least 30 hours/week

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

No Excuses charter school model

Focus heavily on reading and math achievement, enforce high behavioral expectations through a formal discipline system, lengthen instructional time, and increase feedback on teacher performance

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

Nurse practitioner scope of practice

Use regulation to extend nurse practitioners’ (NPs’) scope of practice to provide care to the full scope of their training and skills without physician oversight, especially for primary care

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

Nurse residency programs

Implement programs that continue education, mentoring, and support for novice nurses following graduation

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

Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP)

Provide home visiting services to low income, first time mothers and their babies, starting during pregnancy and continuing through a child’s second birthday

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

Nurse-friendly work environments

Improve work environments for nurses via establishment of strong nursing leadership, organizational support, etc.

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

Nutrient management plans

Support site-specific plans for crop production that match nutrient applications to crop needs, typically with agricultural best management practices

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