Looking for ways to enhance access to physical activity, reduce rates of high school dropout or reduce tobacco use in your community?

From the developers behind the County Health Rankings comes a new tool that provides a list of policies and programs that can be used to improve health, with a particular focus on policies and strategies that address social determinants of health, including income, employment and education, among others. For each policy and program, the tool, What Works for Health, provides a summary of literature on a particular public health challenge and ratings based on whether or not the policy or program is likely to improve disparities. Additionally, the tool provides links to evidence summaries and implementation examples.

“There are many organizations that assess the effectiveness of policies and programs. Each organization uses its own criteria to assess and rate evidence,” wrote Bridget Booske Catlin, PhD, MHSA, director of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, in a recent blog post. Rather than reinventing the wheel, What Works for Health summarizes and links to research from other rating organizations.”

The tool is considered the first of its kind that can be used at the local, state and federal levels to help identify policies that address social determinants of health and health inequities. It was developed by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.