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Identify Evidence-Based and Promising Program Models

There are a number of guides available that contain information about evidence-based and promising programs that may be appropriate for rural communities. These guides, and their strengths and limitations, are discussed next.

The Community Guide
Practice Type: Evidence-based
Developed by the Community Preventive Services Task Force, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This group researches community, population, and health care system programs and policies to address a variety of public health and health promotion topics and evaluates the best models. It uses systematic reviews to answer questions about:

  • Which program and policy interventions have been proven effective?
  • Are there effective interventions that are right for my community?
  • What might effective interventions cost; what is the likely return on investment?

Strengths:

  • Rigorous standards of evidence are applied

Limitations:

  • Few effective interventions are highlighted (many have insufficient evidence)
  • Interventions designated as Recommended or Likely Effective may be cost-prohibitive to implement

Healthy People 2020 Evidence-Based Resource Database
Practice Type: Evidence-based, Effective
A searchable database of research on evidence-based programs and effective practices. Innovations describe the activity, its effect, how the innovator developed and implemented it, and other information. Quality Tools are practical tools can be used to assess, measure, promote, and improve the quality of programs and services.

Strengths:

  • Wide range of topics relating to Healthy People 2020 goals
  • Resources given a rating for strength of evidence

Limitations:

  • Reliance on published literature may leave out newer programs with less rigorous evaluations

Center of Excellence for Training and Research Translation
Practice Type: Effective
Information on research-tested, practice-tested and emerging interventions. Provides an overview of interventions, including potential for public health effect defined by Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance (RE-AIM).

Strengths:

  • Recommended interventions are translated into a template that summarizes evidence, explains resources and steps required for implementation, and links to intervention materials

Limitations:

  • Not necessarily tailored to rural communities

What Works for Health: Policies and Programs to Improve Wisconsin’s Health
Practice Type: Evidence-based, Effective, Promising, Emerging
A database of policies and programs that can improve health on a range of topics, including health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. It reviews and summarizes findings from numerous resources. It also notes who the “decision maker” would be for each.

Strengths:

  • Provides information on evidence of effectiveness, population reach, effect on health disparities, implementation, and other key information for each included policy and program

Limitations:

  • Addresses the effectiveness of policies and programs on health factors, not on the program’s effect on health

AHRQ Innovations Exchange
Practice Type: Emerging
Searchable database of Innovations and Quality Tools. Innovations describe the activity, its effect, how the innovator developed and implemented it, and other information. Quality Tools are practical tools can be used to assess, measure, promote, and improve the quality of programs and services.

Strengths:

  • Provides information on the innovation’s evaluation design and results, and non-experimental, qualitative, or anecdotal evidence of effectiveness

Limitations:

  • Some innovations are too new to have been rigorously evaluated

Compendium of HIV Prevention Services with Evidence of Effectiveness
Practice Type: Evidence-based
The National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at CDC developed this Compendium to organize science-based interventions that prevent HIV transmission. The Compendium is regularly updated as new EBIs and Best Practices are identified. Focuses specifically on interventions related to risk reduction, medication adherence, and HIV care.

Strengths:

  • Well-organized to clearly explain the target population, intervention effects, and the evidence base for the intervention
  • Provides information on considerations for others implementing the intervention
  • Some include contact information to access intervention packets for resources from the intervention

Limitations:

  • Not necessarily tailored to rural communities

National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP)
Practice Type: Evidence-based
NREPP is an online registry of more than 350 substance abuse and mental health interventions compiled by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) which is organized by topic, population aspects, or program type. A general summary and descriptive information is provided for each intervention entry in the registry.

Strengths:

  • Provides in-depth information on interventions and materials reviewed
  • Reviews the quality and strength of interventions
  • Provides information about cost and replication
  • Provides geographic locations for the intervention (rural/urban)

Limitations:

  • Ratings do not reflect an intervention's effectiveness, so one must review the Key Findings section for each intervention to understand outcomes

Evidence-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs at a Glance
Practice Type: Evidence-based
This table provides a brief overview of program models that are implementation ready and is intended to be used in conjunction with other resources when selecting a program model.

Strengths:

  • Well-organized to clearly explain the program type, settings, and target population
  • Includes information on tools available in Spanish and other languages

Limitations:

  • Not necessarily tailored to rural communities

Additional Resources

There are also many state agencies, federal agencies, and foundations that have compiled lists of successful, evidence-based models for programs on a variety of issues. These resources can help rural communities identify a model that works for their health program. For a list of additional resources, see Other Collections of Program Examples in RHIhub’s Rural Health Models & Innovations section.