Prevention Training Topics


The New England PTTC continues to develop workshops in a variety of prevention content areas that can be offered to states and communities in New England.  Read the descriptions below to learn more.  If you are interested in hosting one or more of these trainings, please contact us at


Prevention on the Brain: Developing Effective Brain-Friendly Prevention Messages for Youth

Developed and presented by Sheila Nelson, MPH, MSW


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Description of Workshop: Adolescence is a time when young people’s brains are changing and developing rapidly, causing them to approach decision‐making in new and different ways. Understanding how youth think about risks and choices around substance use, relationships, sexuality, and other health behaviors is key to developing prevention approaches that are truly effective. This training will present the latest knowledge we have about how brain development affects the ways that young people evaluate their health choices, and how adult educators and prevention professionals can present our messages in ways that maximize our impact. This information will provide attendees with the skills to adapt and grow their prevention toolbox, and encourage prevention professionals to think beyond the frame of our current practice.


Learning Objectives:

Objective #1 Participants will develop an understanding of the ways in which brain development affects the ways that adolescents perceive risk and decision‐ making

Objective #2 Participants will recognize common pitfalls that may make prevention messaging less effective for young people

Objective #3 Participants will identify developmentally appropriate strategies for supporting healthy decision making and risk reduction


Minecraft not Ms. Pacman: Transforming Presentations for Today’s Audiences

Developed and presented by: Jamie Comstock and Robin Carr

Description of workshop: Do your presentations inspire and influence your audiences? Do you know how to tackle tough topics and information overload?

We use presentations as one of our primary strategies to share content knowledge, build skills, ignite calls to action and affect culture change. Many of us have attempted to create compelling presentations, however most of us never receive any formal training in presentation design - despite all we expect presentations to do for us.

In this six-hour full day in-person workshop, participants will learn practical skills to plan and deliver exceptional presentations using the tools and resources they already have. This workshop will have a special focus on marijuana prevention education, but is a transferable skill set across topic areas.


Learning Objectives

After the session, participants will be able to:

  • Apply a four step process to create brain-friendly presentations
  • List the most common presenter mistakes and understand how to prevent them
  • Use tools and techniques that enhance learning
  • Increase audience engagement and participation
  • Use and display data effectively
  • Design compelling, polished visual aids for presentations


Target Audience

Nonprofit and public sector professionals, substance use prevention professionals, behavioral health professionals, public health professionals and others tasked with delivering presentations


Addressing Substance Use in Rural Areas

Presented by: Eric Haram

More than 1 in 5 Americans live within a rural area ... where economic, religious, historical, and geographic factors combine to create a unique culture that influences mental health outcomes, physical health conditions, and health behaviors.

During this half-day workshop the following topics will be addressed:

  • Rural Definition and Statistics
  • Rural Culture-Rurality
  • Rural Issues/Barriers Related to Health
  • Substance Use and Opioid Use
  • Substance Use and Opioid Use in Rural Areas
  • Four Factors Explaining Opioid Use Rates in Rural Areas
  • Training Workforce in Rurality


Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS)

Presented by: David Lischer, LCSW

This full day workshop will explore BASICS - the Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students.  BASICS is an empirically supported harm reduction approach for working with college students to reduce negative consequences of alcohol use. 

In this workshop, we will briefly review the context of alcohol use on campuses and its consequences. We will delve into the BASICS model, developing skills and knowledge necessary to effectively implement BASICS.

Participants will leave the workshop with the tools needed to successfully conduct this individual intervention on their own campuses or in their communities. (The BASICS feedback report presented in this workshop makes use of Publisher and Excel software.  Participants are encouraged to bring their laptops in order to practice and develop confidence in creating these reports.)


Participants who successfully complete this workshop will:

  • Briefly review research related to alcohol and interventions with college students
  • Review instruments for assessing alcohol use and related behavior
  • Reinforce or increase helpful knowledge of alcohol and its interaction with the body
  • Develop understanding of the BASICS model and confidence in applying it
  • Develop the ability to create a BASICS report for the student


About the presenter:

David Lischer, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years of experience working with adolescents and young adults on issues related to mental health and substance use.  For the past 20 years, he has been on staff at a small, liberal arts college counseling center. He has worked extensively with his broad campus community to implement a socio-ecological model to address alcohol use. 

In his direct work with college students, a primary focus has been using a harm reduction approach to reduce high-risk alcohol use. David was actively involved with Maine’s Higher Education Alcohol Prevention Partnership (HEAPP), an initiative to reduce negative consequences of alcohol use among college/university students.  David has enjoyed working with colleagues across the state and beyond, training and implementing the Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS).


If you are interested in bringing these trainings to your state, community, or organization, please contact us at or (207) 626-3615