Costs of community-based interventions from the community transformation grants
Limited data are available on the costs of evidence-based community-wide prevention programs. The objective of this study was to estimate the per-person costs of strategies that support policy, systems, and environmental changes implemented under the Community Transformation Grants (CTG) program. We collected cost data from 29 CTG awardees and estimated program costs as spending on labor; consultants; materials, travel, and services; overhead activities; partners; and the value of in-kind contributions. We estimated costs per person reached for 20 strategies. We assessed how per-person costs varied with the number of people reached. Data were collected in 2012-2015, and the analysis was conducted in 2015-2016. Two of the tobacco-free living strategies cost less than $1.20 per person and reached over 6 million people each. Four of the healthy eating strategies cost less than $1.00 per person, and one of them reached over 6.5 million people. One of the active living strategies cost $2.20 per person and reached over 7 million people. Three of the clinical and community preventive services strategies cost less than $2.30 per person, and one of them reached almost 2 million people. Across all 20 strategies combined, an increase of 10,000 people in the number of people reached was associated with a $0.22 reduction in the per-person cost. Results demonstrate that interventions, such as tobacco-free indoor policies, which have been shown to improve health outcomes have relatively low per-person costs and are able to reach a large number of people.