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eNewsletter or Blog
June Newsletter: The Strategic Prevention Framework Step 4: Implementation The key to positive outcomes in substance misuse prevention is using evidence-based programs and practices that produce the intended results. This is accomplished when prevention practitioners select, plan for, and carefully implement those interventions. Sometimes a practice or program will need to be adapted. This adaptation may be identified early in the planning process or may be discovered later. Monitoring the implementation process is necessary to identify areas of concern. The sooner the need for adaptation is identified, the better your prevention outcomes will be. SAMHSA has identified 5 guidelines to consider when balancing fidelity and adaptation. Retain core components. Evidence-based programs are more likely to be effective when their core components are maintained. Build capacity before changing the program. Rather than change a program to fit local conditions, consider ways to develop resources or to build local readiness so that it can be delivered as it was originally designed. Add rather than subtract. Doing so decreases the likelihood of important program elements (i. e.., those that are critical to program effectiveness) getting lost. Adapt with care. Even when programs and practices are selected with great care, there may be ways to improve their appropriateness for a unique focus population. If adapting, get help. Knowledge experts, such as program developers, can provide information on how a program has been adapted in the past, how well these adaptations have worked, and what core components should be retained to maintain effectiveness.1  
Published: June 3, 2020
eNewsletter or Blog
On February 19th, Dr. Parissa Ballard, Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, presented what I thought was a fascinating webinar,  sponsored by our Region IV Prevention Technology Transfer Center.  Her topic:  The Benefits of Engaging Youth in Communities: Insights and Evidence from Developmental Science.  One of the things I noted in my brief introductory remarks to the webinar was that while youth engagement is a mainstay of current prevention efforts, the argument for it usually revolves around the value of this approach for a local coalition’s efforts to achieve a goal, such as passage of a local ordinance (e.g., a social host ordinance), or getting the word out about an important prevention practice (e.g., locking up medications in the home).  Many of us know from experience that youth can garner attention and have a significant voice in these kinds of efforts—such as when a well-organized group of youth come to a city or county council meeting to voice their support for passage of a public health ordinance.  Dr. Ballard presented this argument, but she also discussed why and how youth engagement is associated with benefits for the youth themselves.  For example, Dr. Ballard and her colleagues found in their research that volunteering as a youth is associated with healthier behaviors and mental health as youth age into young adulthood (Ballard, Hoyt, & Pachucki, 2019). For me, one of the most important takeaways from Dr. Ballard’s webinar was that when it comes to youth engagement, one size does not fit all!  The potential benefits for youth, and for coalitions, are likely to be different for very young adolescents (ages 10 to  14) than they are for middle adolescents (ages 15 to 19) and young adults (ages 20 to 24) (see Slides 20-32 of the webinar, (Suleiman, Ballard, Hoyt, & Ozer, 2019).   Click HERE to watch the webinar.   References Ballard, P., Hoyt, L., & Pachucki, M. (2019). Impacts of adolescent and youth adult civic engagement on health and socioeconomic status in adulthood. Child Development, 90(4) 1138-1154. Suleiman, A., Ballard, P., Hoyt, L., & Ozer, E. (2019). Applying a developmental lens to youth-led participatory action research: an examination and integration of existing evidence. Youth & Society, 1-28.  
Published: March 31, 2020
Informing Prevention 6-Part Webinar Series on Adolescents Part 3 of 6  The Effective Use of Epidemiological Data In this webinar you will learn how to determine the scope of a problem for your target population. You will learn where to access and ways to analyze epidemiological data. PDF Slides Presenter: Jason Burrow-Sánchez, PhD
Published: April 16, 2019
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