Safe and healthy communities are built on foundational strategies and evidence-based practices that help to pave the way for effective and sustainable change.
Community coalition efforts are guided by nationally supported evidence-based strategies, effective structures for equitable decision-making and data-driven community assessment. Coalitions, such as the Prevention Alliance of Greater Prince William, provide our community with a platform for building positive, productive community relationships, solution-oriented discussions, and purposeful preventative action to safeguard the health and wellness of all residents within the greater Prince William region. Local communities look to our state and national counterparts for guidance to ensure collaborative effectiveness and sustainable impact for all coalition initiatives.
The Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF)
The purpose of this step is to understand local prevention needs based on a careful review of data gathered from a variety of sources. This data helps planners to assess
- The nature of the substance misuse problem in the community and related harmful behaviors
- Risk and protective factors that influence unhealthy behaviors or perceptions
- Community capacity for prevention, including readiness and available resources
In this step, local resources are built and mobilized and the community’s readiness to address priority substance misuse problems and related harmful behaviors is determined. The following are three strategies for building local capacity for prevention:
- Engage diverse community stakeholders
- Develop and strengthen a prevention team
- Raise community awareness about the issue
Strategic planning increases the effectiveness of prevention efforts by ensuring that prevention planners select and implement the most appropriate programs and strategies for their communities. In an effective planning process, communities involve diverse stakeholders, replace guesswork and hunches with data-driven decisions, and create comprehensive, evidence-based prevention plans to address their community’s priority needs. To develop a solid prevention plan, planners need to:
- Select appropriate programs and practices to address each priority factor
- Combine programs and practices to ensure a comprehensive approach
- Build and share a logic model with stakeholders
In this step, a community’s comprehensive prevention plan is put into action by delivering evidence-based programs and practices as intended. To accomplish this task, planners will need to
- balance fidelity with planned adaptations
- Ensure core components are addressed
- Follow a clear action-plan
- establish critical implementation supports throughout the community.
In the SPF, evaluation is about enhancing prevention practice. It is the systematic collection and analysis of information about prevention activities to reduce uncertainty, improve effectiveness, and facilitate decision-making. The evaluation step helps communities to:
- Demonstrate the impact of a prevention program or practice on substance misuse and related behavioral health problems.
- Meet the diverse information needs of stakeholders and lay community
- Continuously improve prevention programs and practices.
- Advance the field of prevention by increasing the knowledge base about what works and what does not.
CADCA’s Seven Strategies for Community Change
The environmental strategies approach to prevention recognizes that there is constant interplay between the environment and the individual. Health behaviors, choices, and perceptions are all impacted by where we live and determine the level of risk individuals and communities experience. The Seven Strategies for Community Change harnesses the ability to shape an individual’s behavior by structuring what is expected or permitted in specific environments in a positive way.
These seven methods, which overlap nd reinforce each other, can bring about community change and have been adopted as a useful framework by CADCA’s Institute. Each of these strategies represents a key element to build and
maintain a healthy community . Together, environmental and individual change strategies have the power to can form a comprehensive approach to population-level prevention.
Individual Change Strategies
1. Provide information through educational programs, community events or other opportunities to share data
2. Build skills through programs, workshops, trainings or other activities designed to increase the skills of participants, coalition members and staff
3. Provide support by creating opportunities to support participation in risk reducing or protective activities
Environmental Change Strategies
4. Enhance Access/Reduce barriers by improving systems, services and processes to increase the ease, ability and opportunity for citizens to utilize those systems and services
5. Change consequences by using incentives and disincentives to limit community behaviors linked to substance use risk
6. Physically design the environmental structure of our region to reduce risk and enhance protection, especially among our youth
7. Modify Policy through active support and presence within government, communities and organizations