Public Health Prevention

We work with and for communities to achieve positive and sustainable prevention outcomes. To do that, we follow an evidence-based public health model called the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF). The SPF is a five-step planning process that is driven by outcome-based prevention concepts; focuses on population-level change; concentrates on prevention across the lifespan; emphasizes data-driven decision making.

We have demonstrated success in supporting communities through each step of this process. For example, in 2012, prevention specialists across the state worked with community coalitions to conduct a comprehensive ATOD needs assessment, and in 2014 did the same with a suicide prevention needs assessment. We are now working toward moving county-specific ATODS needs assessment data into a strategy management system that will continually inform communities and aid their strategy selection and implementation. Additionally, in fall 2016, we participated in capacity assessments and capacity development planning with local stakeholders and worked with communities to develop ATODS strategic plans. More details related to our innovative approaches to the SPF model can found on our “What’s New” page under “Innovation in Prevention.”

To learn more about the SPF model, please visit https://www.samhsa.gov/capt/applying-strategic-prevention-framework.

Within the context of the SPF model, we offer assistance to communities through several key services, described below.


Our staff, both at the community level and the state level, serve as facilitators, coordinators, subject matter experts, planners, trainers, and change agents. In doing so, we provide a distinct set of services. As a holistic nonprofit entity, we have deliberately designed services to meet the needs of communities and partners, towards mission results. Our key services directly align with the SPF model and are described in the following paragraphs.

Community Needs Assessment and Planning

Using the SPF model, we work with coalitions to coordinate, guide, support, or facilitate community needs assessment and planning processes. The needs assessment identifies community issues and priorities. It also identifies the community situation, attitudes, or resources that may present opportunities or challenges. Based on data, issues, and priorities, a strategic plan sets clear goals, objectives, and strategies. Plans are tools to guide the work of our staff, partners, and community coalitions.

Capacity Building

We work with communities to establish or support existing coalitions. Coalitions comprising a diverse and committed group of decision makers, ATODS and health professionals, parents, and other community volunteers are proven to be most effective in identifying, prioritizing, and solving their own community ATODS issues. In addition to coalitions, communities vary in their strengths, resources, assets, and readiness to understand and adopt ATODS prevention strategies. To enhance capacity, we build partnerships with agencies and organizations, business
establishments, and faith-based organizations; seek resources for staffing, training, or skills development; build awareness through local media or presentations; and provide data and information to educate local policymakers.

Evidence-Based Strategies for ATODS Prevention

Our staff is subject-matter experts on evidence-based strategies for ATODS prevention. Based on community capacity, a comprehensive needs assessment, and strategic priorities. We bring forth information and resources to support practices proven to be successful. As appropriate, the strategies focus on policy, environment, or systems change to ensure population level, sustainable approaches (as compared to one-time programs or individual interventions). We assist in strategy selection and implementation at both the community and the state level to achieve outcomes.

Data, Information, Media Strategies, and Training

In support of capacity building, needs assessment, planning, and strategies, we collect, analyze, and disseminate relevant ATODS data and information to ensure objective, factual reporting on the effectiveness of implemented strategies. We also develop and disseminate messages proven to be most effective for specific audiences, and may design and develop local and statewide media campaigns to promote these messages. Current, accurate and accessible data and information are critical to increasing awareness and educating the public about the issues and solutions. Ongoing training, both online and in-person, builds the skills for strategy implementation.

Community-Centric Approach

All of our services are provided through a community-centric approach that is based on the theory that change takes hold when communities are engaged and empowered and they “own” their change. For our purposes, this means that prescribed processes are not imposed on communities, but rather, with data, information, and guidance, communities define their needs, set their priorities, and develop their own approach to delivering solutions. A community-centric approach means that everything we do considers the community. It implies understanding, respecting, and adapting for unique community cultures, norms, and styles. Our staff carry out all their responsibilities with a high level of community awareness and competence. While this means that we are responsive to communities, our role is always within the context of public health practice, ATODS prevention science, and evidence-based strategies. Thus, while supportive of community empowerment, PMO-funded strategies and activities occur within a framework that complies with state substance abuse standards requiring evidence-based practices and programs and data-driven decision making.