An Introduction to the Power of Policy Change

This course provides an overview of how policy change can be an effective strategy for prevention professionals to address community-level problems with alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. The goal of the course is to dispel some of the concerns around policy and help community coalitions and partners see that it is feasible, do-able and most importantly, impactful. 

There are 5 main objectives designed to prepare participants to design and work on a policy change campaign.


  • Objective 1 - to review the concept of risk and protective factors as they relate to ATOD prevention strategies.
  • Objective 2 -  to provide an overview of the two main approaches to prevention interventions, namely individual and environmental strategies.
  • Objective 3 -  to define policy and explain how it can impact ATOD problems at the community level.
  • Objective 4 -  to illustrate how public policy and organizational policy differ. 
  • Objective 5 -  to introduce the concept of preemption and briefly discuss how it can hinder policy efforts.


The course content was developed by:

Kristin Kidd, MA, WF School of Medicine
Kimberly Wagoner, DrPH, MPH, WF School of Medicine
Michael Sparks, MA, SparksInitiatives, Inc.
Mark Wolfson, PhD, UC Riverside

January 5, 2021
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