What Works for Health

Policies and programs that can improve health

Summer learning programs

Provide academic instruction to students during the summer, often along with enrichment activities such as art or outdoor activities

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

Summer work experience programs

Provide short-term employment opportunities for youth, especially those in low income families

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

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits

Explore ways to increase Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program benefit amounts for aged, blind, or disabled individuals, including children, with little or no income

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

Swimming pool fencing

Require fences around swimming pools

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

Synthetic progesterone (17P) access

Ensure appropriate access to 17P, a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone, by identifying high-risk women, reducing barriers to treatment receipt and completion, coordinating care, etc.

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

Technology-enhanced classroom instruction

Incorporate technology into classroom instruction via computer-assisted instruction programs, computer-managed learning programs, use of interactive white boards, etc.

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

Teen pregnancy prevention programs

Support school-, community-, and clinic-based teen pregnancy prevention programs such as comprehensive sex education, HIV/STI prevention and youth development efforts, service learning, etc.

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

Telecommuting

Allow employees to work outside a central office, using technology to interact with others inside and outside the organization; also called remote work or flexible working arrangements

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

Telemedicine

Deliver consultative, diagnostic, and treatment services remotely for patients who live in areas with limited access to care or would benefit from frequent monitoring; also called telehealth

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

Telemental health services

Provide mental health care services (e.g., psychotherapy or counseling) via telephone or videoconference

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

Text message-based health interventions

Provide reminders, education, or self-management assistance for health conditions, especially chronic diseases, via text message

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

Tiered drug formularies

Vary patient drug costs by tier; e.g., generic drugs have the lowest co-pay or cost sharing in tier one, then preferred brand name medications (tier two), then non-formulary drugs (tier three)

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

Tobacco cessation contests

Encourage participants to quit using tobacco on a set date or during a specific time period and give successful participants a chance to win financial rewards or other prizes; often called Quit & win contests

Evidence Rating:
Insufficient Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Tobacco Use

Tobacco cessation therapy affordability

Reduce patients’ out-of-pocket costs for cessation therapies such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and cessation counseling participation

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

Tobacco marketing restrictions

Limit promotion, placement, flavoring, or pricing of tobacco products via regulation

Evidence Rating:
Some Evidence
Health Factor(s):
Tobacco Use

Tobacco quitlines

Deliver phone-based behavioral counseling for tobacco users who want to quit with follow-up calls scheduled proactively following initial contact

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

Tobacco retailer licensing

Require retailers to purchase licenses, typically annually, to sell tobacco products; retailers must abide by all tobacco control laws to maintain licenses

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

Tobacco retailer location restrictions

Set the number, type, proximity, and density of tobacco retailers, especially near homes and schools, via state or local zoning, licensing restrictions, or other regulations

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

Tobacco taxes

Increase tobacco per unit prices through taxes at the federal, state, or local level

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

Traffic calming

Modify the built environment to affect traffic speed and patterns via speed humps, pedestrian center crossing islands, roundabouts, etc.

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

Transitional jobs

Establish time-limited, subsidized, paid job opportunities to provide a bridge to unsubsidized employment

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

Trauma-informed approaches to community building

Support and strengthen traumatized and distressed residents and communities and address effects of trauma (e.g., violence, poverty, homelessness, social isolation, racism, etc.) via a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder...

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

Trauma-informed health care

Shift the way health care organizations approach trauma by adopting universal trauma precautions and providing trauma-specific care

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

Trauma-informed juvenile justice systems

Support a trauma-informed juvenile justice system through staff training and broad adoption of trauma-informed practices and policies

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

Trauma-informed schools

Adopt a multi-tiered approach within schools to address the needs of trauma-exposed youth, including school-wide changes, screenings, and individual intensive support

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

Treatment Foster Care

Place youth with mental, emotional, and behavioral health challenges in foster families that provide a structured, nurturing, therapeutic environment; also called Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC)

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

Treatment Foster Care Oregon

Place severely and chronically delinquent youth in foster families that are trained in structured behavior management and connected to TFCO program staff; formerly called Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care

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

Unemployment insurance (UI)

Extend or raise the compensation provided to eligible, unemployed workers looking for jobs

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

Unhealthy snack taxes

Increase the price of snack products high in sugar and fat by adding an excise or sales tax to the current price

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

Universal distracted driving laws

Prohibit all drivers from texting or talking on a cell phone while driving

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

Universal firearm background checks

Require both licensed and unlicensed firearm dealers to conduct background checks of potential handgun purchasers

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

Universal motorcycle helmet laws

Require all motorcycle operators and passengers to wear a helmet; laws are established statewide and may also include mopeds and scooters

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

Universal pre-kindergarten

Provide pre-kindergarten (pre-K) education to all 4-year-olds, regardless of family income

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

Universal school-based alcohol prevention programs

Provide all students with the information and skills to prevent alcohol use; programs can be delivered via a specific curriculum or as a component of classroom behavior management

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

Universal school-based suicide awareness & education programs

Deliver a curriculum-based program that helps all students learn to recognize warning signs of suicide in themselves and others in a school setting

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

Urban agriculture

Support food-producing and income-earning activities in urban environments (e.g., edible landscapes, front yard or rooftop gardens, window farming, hydroponics, livestock, etc.)

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

Value-based insurance design

Create financial incentives or remove financial disincentives to affect consumer choices and incentivize provision of cost efficient health care services

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

Value-based purchasing (VBP)

Use the purchasing power of employers and groups of insured individuals to create incentives and disincentives for health care providers to deliver high quality, high value care

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

Vehicle anti-idling initiatives

Implement anti-idling policies and awareness campaigns to reduce engine idling for passenger vehicles, school buses, and/or equipment and truck fleets

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

Vehicle inspection & maintenance (I/M) programs

Require scheduled testing of vehicles’ tailpipe and evaporative emissions; federally mandated in areas with particularly poor air quality

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

Walking school buses

Arrange active transportation with a fixed route, designated stops, and pick up times when children can walk to school with adult chaperones

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

Water availability & promotion interventions

Make water readily available in various settings via regular placement of drinking fountains, water coolers, bottled water in vending machines, etc.

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

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

Provide assistance to low income families to make their homes more energy efficient and to permanently reduce their energy bills

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

WIC & Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Programs

Support Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs, which provide WIC and Senior Nutrition Program participants with coupons for fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables

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

Workplace supports for breastfeeding

Support breastfeeding via private, well-equipped lactation spaces in workplaces, along with breastfeeding breaks, flexible schedules, professional lactation support, etc.

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

Worksite obesity prevention interventions

Use educational, environmental, and behavioral strategies to improve food choices and physical activity opportunities in worksite settings, also called workplace health programs

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

Youth apprenticeship initiatives

Provide participating high school students with professional opportunities that combine academic and on-the-job training or mentorship

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

Youth football contact rules

Restrict full contact between youth football players via limits to the number of contact practices, head hits per player, delay to tackling until a certain age, etc.

Evidence Rating:
Expert Opinion
Health Factor(s):
Community Safety

Youth in adult justice system

Transfer arrested youth from the juvenile justice system to the adult criminal justice system

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

Youth leadership programs

Provide youth with leadership and empowerment opportunities, often through social activities such as advocacy groups, peer education, youth-led participatory research, and local government youth advisory councils and boards

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