Preventive medicine 2016 5 25() pii 10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.05.023
Poverty is one of the most pervasive risk factors underlying poor health, but is rarely targeted to improve health. Research on the effects of anti-poverty interventions on health has been limited, at least in part because funding for that research has been limited. Anti-poverty programs have been applied on a large scale, frequently by governments, but without systematic development and cumulative programmatic experimental studies. Anti-poverty programs that produce lasting effects on poverty have not been developed. Before evaluating the effect of anti-poverty programs on health, programs must be developed that can reduce poverty consistently. Anti-poverty programs require systematic development and cumulative programmatic scientific evaluation. Research on the therapeutic workplace could provide a model for that research and an adaptation of the therapeutic workplace could serve as a foundation of a comprehensive anti-poverty program. Once effective anti-poverty programs are developed, future research could determine if those programs improve health in addition to increasing income. The potential personal, health and economic benefits of effective anti-poverty programs could be substantial, and could justify the major efforts and expenses that would be required to support systematic research to develop such programs.