What Works for Health

Policies and programs that can improve health

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

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