2021 Fellowship Program Product - RESTORATIVE PREVENTION: HOW CENTERING EQUITY IN PRIMARY PREVENTION CAN BUILD HEALTHY COMMUNITIES AND PREVENT SUBSTANCE MISUSE
RESTORATIVE PREVENTION: HOW CENTERING EQUITY IN PRIMARY PREVENTION CAN BUILD HEALTHY COMMUNITIES AND PREVENT SUBSTANCE MISUSE
A guide for local and regional substance misuse prevention efforts that seeks to improve community health by building relationships and a sense of connectedness, while paying close attention to those that are often excluded.
This guide will introduce the concept of "Restorative Prevention," a mental framework for rethinking our approach to community-based substance misuse prevention efforts. The goal of this framework is to build healthy communities through a process of systemic equity that restores communities to a state better than they once were. I will define terms and key concepts as a proposed foundation for adopting restorative and equity-centered practices, particularly among those demographics that existing health and prevention systems are failing to serve or support.
By increasing social capital, repairing harm, and restoring relationships, this framework also seeks to prevent substance misuse by addressing the disconnection and pain often at its root. By shifting our attention to the broader systems that perpetuate harm, and away from a singular focus on individuals and populations alone, we may truly begin to address the structural roots of the issues that manifest as substance misuse and prevent it before it ever occurs.
This guide discusses ways to integrate these practices into the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) process. The guiding principle of Culture Competence will be expanded to one of Cultural Responsiveness by including additional cultural frames and perspectives. Finally, I will expand on the concept of Restorative Prevention, and what it can look like in practice, as a means of shifting our traditional prevention approaches towards a vision of unity and solidarity.
Fernando Perfas, B.S.B.A., PS-C
Fernando is a person of faith, a son, a brother, a husband, and a father. He is also a prevention professional who serves the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, managing and coordinating youth substance misuse prevention efforts at the Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Substance Addiction Services. Fernando has dedicated over 14 years to the field of prevention, which he believes is one of the most meaningful ways our systems of health and care can improve the quality of life for everyone in our communities. He embraces restorative and strength-based approaches as foundational to this work, believing relationships are key to building the health and resilience of individuals and communities. Fernando is a Certified Prevention Specialist with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. In addition to being a public servant, he is also an avid outdoorsman who enjoys spending his free time in the mountains and on the ocean, be it in beautiful New England or his native state of New York.