Former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Vice President, J. Michael McGinnis, reflects on articles presented in this special issue of Preventing Chronic Disease that provide a number of perspectives relating to how incentives might work for population health improvement.

The pace of progress in population health can be influenced by the incentives in play and the metrics that trigger them. The MATCH (Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health) articles in this issue explore the use of incentives to improve population health and hold implications for the development and application of the measures to which they are linked. Metrics in population health can serve to draw and focus attention, encourage action, and direct rewards and penalties. When those rewards and penalties take on an economic dimension, the results can be powerful.