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Eivdence Based Programs

What is an evidence-based program?

"[I] experienced a great improvement in my arthritis. I have less stiffness & soreness thus better flexibility & I have decreased the amount of over-the-counter medication." - EnhanceFitness Participant
Simply put, a program is judged to be evidence-based if it meets the following criteria:
  • Evaluation research shows that the program produces the expected positive results;
  • The results can be attributed to the program itself, rather than to other extraneous factors or events;
  • The evaluation is peer-reviewed by experts in the field; and
  • The program is “endorsed” by a federal agency or respected research organization and included in their list of effective programs.
Enhance programs have been endorsed by the US HHS Administration on Aging and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Arthritis Program.

When you adopt an evidence-based program, you get an intervention with defined goals and proven results for a specific target population.  The evidence-based program package includes a researched rational for the intervention, a well-defined program structure and timeframe, required staffing needs and skills, specific facility and equipment requirements, and program evaluation tools to measure program quality and health outcomes.  Evidence-based programs will increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for participants and provide tools to measure those outcomes for the justification of funding and efficient use of resources.

Resources on evidence-based health programs for older adults

If you would like further information about evidence-based health programs for older adults, you may find the following web sites useful:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the online source for credible health information, including evidence-based programs. Specific CDC organizations to explore include the following:

The Prevention Research Centers (PRC) is a network of academic, community, and public health partners that conducts applied public health research.

Healthy Aging Research Network (CDC-HAN):  Within the PRC network is a subset of centers focused on healthy aging and, in particular, assisting in the development of a national research and dissemination agenda related to the public health aspects of healthy aging.

One of the CDC-HAN Prevention Research Centers is the University of Washington Health Promotion Research Center (UW HPRC), where the Project Enhance evidence-based programs originated. As with all PRC research programs, there is a strong focus on partnering with community-based groups to develop programs that improve health, with a special emphasis on those communities and populations that bear a disproportionate burden of illness and disease.

CDC Arthritis Program: Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States, limiting the activities of nearly 21 million adults. The CDC Arthritis Program is working to improve the quality of life for people affected by arthritis and other rheumatic conditions by working with states and other partners to increase awareness about appropriate arthritis self management activities and expanding the reach of programs proven to improve the quality of life for people with arthritis.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA), founded in 1950, is a national network of organizations and individuals dedicated to improving the health and independence of older persons and increasing their continuing contributions to communities, society, and future generations. Specific NCOA organizations to explore include the following:

The NCOA Center for Healthy Aging (CHA) is a national resource center for aging service providers, Administration on Aging Evidence-Based Disease Prevention Program grantees, and those interested in healthy aging programs.

The U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) has funded grants programs and public/private partnerships in support of community-level, evidence-based prevention programs that have proven effective in reducing the risk of disease, disability, and injury in older adults.

What are other evidence-based programs to consider?

Active Choices


Active Living Every Day
Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP)

Fit & Strong!
Healthy IDEAS:
A Matter of Balance (MOB)
Medications Management Improvement System
PEARLS
Stepping On
Strong for Life
Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance