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A Systematic Review of Housing Interventions and Health: Introduction, Methods, and Summary Findings

Jacobs, David E. PhD, CIH; Brown, Mary Jean ScD, RN; Baeder, Andrea MPH; Sucosky, Marissa Scalia MPH; Margolis, Stephen PhD; Hershovitz, Jerry BS; Kolb, Laura MPH; Morley, Rebecca L. MSPP

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: September/October 2010 - Volume 16 - Issue 5 - p S5–S10
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181e31d09
Review of Housing Interventions

Subject matter experts systematically reviewed evidence on the effectiveness of specific housing interventions in improving health. The panelists reviewed housing interventions associated with exposure to biological and chemical agents, structural injury hazards, and community-level interventions. Intervention studies were grouped together according to recommendations in the Guide to Community Preventive Services, which identifies similarities in the type of intervention, its delivery and setting, and the target population. Review panelists found that 11 interventions had sufficient evidence of effectiveness, 15 required more field evaluation, 19 needed formative research, and 7 either had no evidence of effectiveness or were ineffective. Although many housing conditions are associated with adverse health outcomes, sufficient evidence now shows that specific housing interventions can improve certain health outcomes. The results of these evidence reviews can inform a robust agenda for widespread implementation and further research. This article highlights the project's research methods and summary findings, and its companion articles detail the evidence reviews for specific housing interventions.

This article provides introduction, methods, and summary findings of a systematic review of housing interventions and health.

National Center for Healthy Housing, Columbia, Maryland (Dr Jacobs and Ms Morley); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia (Dr Brown, Mss Baeder and Sucosky, and Mr Hershovitz); Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia (Dr Margolis); and Indoor Environments Division, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, District of Columbia (Ms Kolb).

Correspondence: David E. Jacobs, PhD, CIH, National Center for Healthy Housing, 10320 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Ste 500, Columbia, MD 21044 (

Disclaimer: The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of, nor have they been officially endorsed by, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the US Government.

This work was supported by a cooperative grant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention, and the National Center for Healthy Housing.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.