Selecting and implementing an action to improve the health of a neighborhood can be difficult. The Neighborhood Health Partnerships Program has created curated lists of evidence-informed policies, programs, and system changes that can improve a variety of factors that affect health.
How to use these lists
The actions and interventions on the lists linked below are primarily neighborhood-level interventions that can largely be driven by community voice, neighborhood organizations, and partners. These lists are intended to help you start a conversation about addressing a need in your community. Note:
- Some interventions may require the cooperation of outside stakeholders (policy makers, health systems, public or private sector partners). Some of these actions and interventions might need to be modified in order to meet the unique needs and priorities of a neighborhood.
- It is possible that none of the actions and interventions on the lists are the exact fit for a particular neighborhood, but we hope that conversations help point the neighborhood towards the right action or intervention.
Selecting an intervention
There are many factors to consider when selecting an intervention for a neighborhood, such as:
- Population characteristics, needs, and values
- Organizational context and capacity (See our action tool Aligning Community Priorities & Data for more information to help assess this)
- Available evidence on effectiveness of interventions
- Resources available to support an intervention
- The type of impact that would be most useful to make (e.g. a direct impact on a health indicator, such as depression screening or an impact on the root causes of health inequities)
The interventions included in this tool are a starting point to consider. For more potential actions, please check out: County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, The Community Guide, HIPxChange, and What Works for Health.
There are many researchers working on developing and evaluating interventions for specific health problems. They are often interested in partnering with community organizations on projects. Work with your NHP Navigator to see if there are any researchers working in your area of interest.
There are multiple levels that affect one’s health beyond individual factors and actions. When considering what intervention(s) may be right for a neighborhood, think about the level at which you/your partners are best able to act.
The Social-Ecological Model
We used the social-ecological model to help us organize our action and intervention lists. The social-ecological model shows that individual health is shaped by factors at various levels. Health is influenced by our behaviors, and our behaviors are shaped by where we live, work, and play. It is important to consider factors at every level when considering the impacts on health.
- Individual factors include knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy, skills
- At the interpersonal level, family and social networks can provide support and shape identity and expectations
- Organizational or Institutional Factors include rules, regulations, policies and informal structures may constrain or promote health
- The model also includes community factors such as community norms, standards and environments
- And finally, in the public policy sphere, the model includes factors such as local, state and national laws and policies
The Health Impact Pyramid
Different types of interventions vary in population impact and the amount of individual effort needed, as shown in the Health Impact Pyramid above.
Interventions at the bottom of the pyramid affect larger numbers of people by addressing social determinants of health. For different health issues, some interventions may be more effective or appropriate depending on the context.
Using actions and interventions to strengthen partnerships
When different organizations are working together in a partnership to improve neighborhood health, each partner brings their own set of goals to the table. Selecting an action and/or intervention that helps to meet the goals of all parties will help build and strengthen partnerships.
For more on building partnerships, please check out our action tool: Aligning Community Priorities & Data.
Once a neighborhood has selected an action and/or intervention to address the neighborhood health problem, they are ready to create a detailed plan that clearly describes the action/intervention and what they hope to accomplish. The action plan (.doc) is expressed in terms of goals, objectives, and activities with expected results. It includes a target date for each activity, a description of key resources needed, and establishes accountability. A carefully designed and well-written action plan also provides a solid basis for project evaluation.