The purpose of the proposed project is to address the lack of well-integrated infrastructure across public education systems to support sustained, quality implementation of evidence-based interventions (EBIs). Public education systems offer immense potential for scaling up EBI delivery to achieve public health impact-they reach every community in the country-but there are major infrastructure- and capacity-related barriers to realizing the potential. Our proposed solution is to build the necessary capacity and partnership infrastructure in selected states. The need for the proposed work is indicated by epidemiological data on the prevalence of substance use and other health-risking problem behaviors among adolescents, particularly in rural areas. The goal of the proposed project is to prepare for larger-scale implementation of the empirically-validated PROSPER State Partnership Model (hereafter PROSPER Model), to effectively deliver and sustain EBIs that reduce youth substance use and related problem behaviors. The PROSPER Model links the Cooperative Extension System (CES), the public school system, and other resources in states for prevention programming. It has evolved through two decades of NIH-funded, randomized-controlled prevention trials, and has demonstrated a range of positive, long-term community level outcomes. Because prevention activities offered through public education systems often do not sustain quality implementation of EBIs, there is a need to reach more states and communities with our model. Specifically, we propose to apply data from a web-based survey of key informants representing the CES from all 50 states, in order to select 10 states in which to develop infrastructure and capacity-building for implementation of the PROSPER Model. This will include in-depth capacity and resource assessments-at state (CES, Departments of Education, Health, Juvenile Justice) and community levels-and capacity building, including awareness building, organizational networking, leadership networking, resource generation, and introductory training to the Model (Aim 1). We then propose to select 5 of the 10 states to further develop and pilot advanced training for key individuals-to build readiness for actual model implementation (Aim 2). We also will build capacity of the PROSPER Network Management team, including a web-based process and outcome evaluation system (Aim 3). Thereby, the proposed project will take the next critically important step of infrastructure development and capacity building for diffusion of state-based partnerships and organize a network of participating states. Creating this network will greatly accelerate translational science, allowing tests of state capacity-building strategies, permitting large-scale studies of factors influencing EBI implementation and sustainability, and prevention trials of PROSPER outcomes in multiple states. As such, this model will build the nation's capacity to reduce youth substance use and create rapid advances in the field of prevention science that would not be possible without this GO opportunity.
Public education delivery systems offer immense potential for scaling up evidence-based interventions that reduce youth substance-related behaviors-they reach every community in the country-but there are major infrastructure- and capacity-related barriers to realizing the potential. The empirically-validated PROSPER State Partnership Model is designed to address these barriers;randomized prevention trials over two decades have shown positive long-term effects of the model on a wide range of substance-related outcomes. Given these positive effects, the proposed project will facilitate infrastructure development and build capacity for diffusion of the PROSPER State Partnership Model, laying the groundwork for creating a network of participating states, in order to reduce youth substance-related problem behaviors in communities across the US.
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