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Population Health Fuel? Community-Based Initiatives

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, October 23, 2013

If you're stuck for ideas about how you can improve your community's health, the Trust for America's Health and the New York Academy of Medicine have released a new report detailing 79 evidence-based disease and injury prevent programs from around the world that have been shown to work.

The report, A Compendium of Proven Community-Based Prevention Programs, includes peer-reviewed studies that evaluated the effectiveness of community-based programs to reduce tobacco use, injuries, asthma, alcohol abuse and sexually-transmitted infections, increase physical activity and improve eating habits.

Jeffrey Levi, executive director of TFAH, says the initiatives are designed to take place outside of the hospital walls. "That is deliberate … because we are seeing growing evidence that what happens inside the clinic has to work hand-in-hand with what happens outside the clinic."

"When you think about the biggest cost drivers for the healthcare system you think of things like obesity and diabetes. You can do the best diabetes management or prevention in a clinical setting. If you are sending someone out into a community where fresh food isn't available or it's difficult to walk you are not going to achieve those goals," Levi says. "We also know that things like a diabetes prevention program, which is a community-based activity, has been more successful than medical interventions."

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