Key Takeaways

  • The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has set criteria for evidence-based health promotion programs.

  • New programs can be approved for use with ACL funding by completing the evidence-based program review process. 

  • The review process is a two-stage application focused on the effectiveness and research-based evidence of the program as well as implementation and dissemination readiness.

The purpose of the Evidence-Based Program Review Process is to identify new community programs that meet the criteria established by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) for evidence-based programs funded through the Older Americans Act (OAA) Title III-D, and other discretionary funding. It is important to note that Title III-D criteria specifically addresses older adults, but programs submitted through this process may address older adults and/or adults with disabilities. Operationalizing/clarifying recommendations for the criteria are available here

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) oversees the program review process in partnership with the Evidence-Based Leadership Collaborative (EBLC). NCOA and EBLC have established a Review Council to assess whether applicants meet the ACL Title III-D criteria for evidence-based programs. The Review Council consists of national leaders with expertise in program research, evaluation, and implementation. This process is supported by the National Chronic Disease Self-Management Education and Falls Prevention Resource Centers, funded by the Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through Prevention and Public Health Funds (Grant numbers: 90CSSG0048 and 90FPSG0051).

The evidence-based program review process provides several benefits:

  • Programs will be reviewed for potential inclusion on the ACL Title III-D approved list in a timely, unbiased manner;
  • More programs targeting varied risk factors and populations will be available for dissemination; and
  • Community, state, and tribal organizations/agencies can use the recommendations of the Review Council to reference programs that have been deemed to be appropriate for inclusion for ACL Title III-D, or other ACL future evidence-based program discretionary funding.

ACL Evidence-Based Program Criteria

Health promotion and disease prevention programs are reviewed based on the following criteria established by the Administration for Community Living:

  • Demonstrated through evaluation to be effective for improving the health and well-being or reducing disease, disability and/or injury among older adults; and
  • Proven effective with older adult population, using Experimental or Quasi-Experimental Design;* and
  • Research results published in a peer-review journal; and
  • Fully translated** in one or more community site(s); and
  • Includes developed dissemination products that are available to the public.

The Review Council has further defined these criteria here

Application Process

The Review Council conducts a two-stage program application process:

  • Stage 1: The first stage application addresses the effectiveness, evidence, and evaluation details related to the program. Note that there are two separate Stage 1 applications: one application specifically for falls prevention programs, and another application for all other health promotion and disease prevention programs. Once evaluated by Review Council members with expertise in research and program evaluation, applicants will be notified whether or not they will be invited to complete the second stage of the application.

If a program is not approved to move to the second stage, applicants will be eligible to receive technical assistance provided by EBLC and may be able to re-apply during a subsequent review, depending on the recommendations of the Review Council.

  • Stage 2 (by invitation only): The second stage will require information about the program implementation, training, dissemination materials, supports available, and other elements essential for successful implementation.

Application Schedule

The next review process cycle is scheduled to open in the October 2021. Please see the 2021-2022 review process schedule below for important deadlines. 


  • Stage 1: Research and Outcomes
  • Stage 2: Program Implementation – *BY INVITATION ONLY*


  • Letter of Intent (Required) Due | October 29, 2021 | Submission Portal
  • Stage 1 Application Due (Research/Effectiveness) | November 30, 2021
  • Invitation to Submit Stage 2 Application (Program Implementation) | By January 31, 2022
  • Stage 2 Application Due | March 11, 2022
  • Notifications to Applicants | By June 3, 2022

If you have questions about the Evidence-Based Program Review application process, please contact Jennifer Tripken (