The healthy communities movement can provide insight into population health efforts in the United States, particularly in the context of recent health care reform.

The movement has evolved from multisector partnerships that focused on improving the health, well-being, and quality of life for people and the social determinants of health to partnerships that focus more on chronic disease prevention, health equity and environmental change. Evaluating the effects of community programs on population health has been challenging for a number of reasons. More metrics need to be developed for population health that will address inequities and focus policies on long-term health effects.

This article is part of a special supplement of Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy.