Call for Papers


Abstract status notifications

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Society for Prevention Research 23rd Annual Meeting

Integrating Prevention Science and Public Policy

May 26-29, 2015 │ Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill │ Washington, DC

Pre-Conference Workshops May 26, 2015


Deadline for Abstract Submission: Friday, November 7, 2014

Call for Papers Overview

The Society for Prevention Research (SPR) is dedicated to promoting global health and well-being, and the SPR annual meeting provides an opportunity for scientists, practitioners, advocates, administrators, and policy makers from around the world to exchange ideas and discuss strategies to achieve this goal.

This year’s conference theme, “Integrating Prevention Science and Public Policy,” offers the opportunity to consider the intersection of prevention science and policy in settings around the world. This theme emphasizes the value of a mutually supportive dialogue that addresses ways prevention science can effectively contribute to advancing evidence-based policy, and opportunities for policy issues to drive a pragmatic science agenda.  Both researchers and policymakers have long suggested that high-quality research could and should be used to inform and shape policies and practice. The policy context can also serve as an important driver of applied research to provide empirical answers and data-driven information to address policy questions. Over the last several years, there have been exciting developments in both public and private investments in identifying solutions that work and making them work for more people.  For example, initiatives such as the Social Innovation Fund seek “new ways to solve old problems that are faster, cost-effective, data-driven and lead to better results for the public good.” Additionally, major shifts in health policy driven by the Affordable Care Act provide opportunities to conduct research to advance prevention in a changing health service context. The intent of this conference theme is to foster discussion regarding how and under what conditions research is used to inform policies and practices and how policy priorities shape what researchers study.  Discussions regarding the strength of evidence and “what works,” emerging science of studying how evidence can more effectively inform policy, cost-benefit considerations, and strategies for scaling programs to make deep and broad impact are central to this topic.  Importantly, this conference theme will encourage knowledge sharing about the science at all levels of integration of prevention science and public policy including cutting edge strategies and models for evidence-based policy and policy-informed science.

The SPR Program Committee invites submissions for the conference that fit within this broad theme as well as the related special themes described below. We will also consider proposals that focus on the core areas of interest to SPR, the general themes including research related to epidemiology and etiology, development and testing of interventions, implementation and dissemination strategies, and innovative methods and statistics (see below). Submissions are encouraged from researchers and policy makers at all stages of their career and from varied backgrounds including public health, population health, education, human services, criminal justice, medical and bio-behavioral sciences, genetics, developmental science, and social science.

Special Conference Themes

Each year SPR selects special themes designed to highlight specific areas of research relevant for prevention scientists. These special themes guide the development of plenary sessions, symposia, and preconference workshops.


Prevention Science and Emerging High-Priority Policy Issues

Decision makers around the world are emphasizing evidence-based policy reform. In the U.S., the federal administration supports rigorous evaluation of social interventions that demonstrate strong evidence of effectiveness, and findings that support financial benefits that offset or outweigh costs of greatest interest. There also are new policy initiatives at the state and national levels such as changes in the legal status of marijuana and new approaches to improving the educational system where evidence is needed to guide further policy change. This theme encourages submissions that evaluate or estimate the outcomes of planned, new or existing policies, as well as submissions that demonstrate how empirical research has been used to inform and guide new policies. In addition, research that describes and evaluates the processes by which policies have been formed, developed, and implemented are encouraged. A wide variety of content areas are welcomed, including emergent areas such as marijuana legalization (What are the consequences of legalization of adult cannabis use on youth cannabis use and related risk behaviors?); recurring areas of concern such as cancer screening (What are effective strategies for reaching high-priority populations?); education policy (What policies and practices contribute to the well documented racial disparities in exclusionary discipline and expulsion?); and gun safety and obesity prevention (What is the impact of national and local laws and policies?).

Scaling Effective Early Childhood Interventions

There is considerable evidence that investments in early childhood are vital for helping children start down the path of educational attainment, healthy development and productive adulthood. The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, which is authorized through Title V of the Social Security Act, as amended by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and the President’s “Preschool for All” initiative, intended to ensure that every American child can attend preschool for free, provide unprecedented opportunities for scaling effective early childhood interventions. The federal, state and local policy context for evidence-based home visiting and high-quality early childhood care and education can serve as an important driver of applied research to provide empirical answers and data-driven information to address critical questions about scaling effective early childhood interventions. Proposals are encouraged which discuss innovations, implementation, replicability, sustainability and cost-benefit outcomes of a full range of early childhood prevention approaches across contexts, systems, and agencies.

HIV/AIDS Prevention

The incidence and prevalence of HIV/AIDS remains unacceptably high in the US and many parts of the world. HIV cases are most often found among socially and/or economically marginalized populations. In the US, disparities have persisted among ethnic/racial and sexual minorities. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy and more recent policies such as those regarding pre-exposure prophylaxis have reshaped HIV prevention efforts and there continues to be a strong public policy commitment to evidence-based practice. There is a critical need to develop new intervention approaches, including those which integrate proven behavior strategies with innovative strategies for testing and biomedical prevention. The increasing emphasis on social/structural interventions calls for new conceptual frameworks and methodologic tools. There is a need to examine the effects of existing policies to lay the groundwork for informing future policy development. Submissions are encouraged which evaluate policy-informed practice as well as research that can inform future policy-based practice including the design, implementation, and evaluation of novel intervention approaches. Proposals may also seek to increase the understanding of how and under what conditions policy driven proactive efforts are most efficacious/effective. Proposals aimed at understanding HIV and co-occurring problems which reflect “syndemic” processes, wherein multiple, overlapping patterns of risk and protective factors may affect the acquisition of HIV and co-occurring problems such as substance abuse, psychiatric disorder, or infectious disease are also welcomed, along with research that broadens the understanding of the social context of HIV infection and transmission. Cross-cultural and cross-national research are particularly welcomed along with examples of methologic innovation.

General Conference Themes: Advances across the Stages of the Prevention Research Cycle

Epidemiology and Etiology: Submissions focused on describing the distribution and patterns of disease (e.g., cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, and HIV/AIDS) as well as on identifying risk and protective targets of preventive interventions, especially those with a developmental and/or lifespan approach, or that include neurobiological, genetic, or contextual factors, are consistent with this theme.

Development and Testing of Interventions: Prior to wide scale dissemination and implementation, prevention interventions should be tested for efficacy under conditions of high quality assurance and strong research designs (“proof of concept”), and tested for effectiveness under real world conditions in settings and systems. Submissions reporting the findings from efficacy or effectiveness trials (including pilot studies with preliminary outcome data) are welcomed, and those that combine the findings of such trials with one of the special conference themes are particularly encouraged.

Dissemination and Implementation Science: Dissemination, implementation, and operations bridge the gaps between research and everyday practice through a dynamic, transactional process between the public health community and researchers. Submissions under this theme should advance the scientific understanding of dissemination and implementation, including cost-efficient sustainability of preventive interventions into systems. Presentations that focus on program dissemination and implementation outcomes; improving dissemination and implementation processes; or identifying individual, provider, organizational, and/or system levels factors that contribute to dissemination, implementation, and effectiveness are encouraged.

Innovative Methods and Statistics: “Cutting edge” studies and methodological analyses that address measurement, statistical and design challenges to prevention science, including systems science approaches (e.g., computational modeling and simulation, network analysis, and engineering control methods) to conceptualize prevention at the micro- or macro-levels of analyses, are invited. Presentations should highlight the challenges related to prevention science that these innovative statistical methods can address and additional benefits gained by using these techniques. For more information on how “systems science” is defined, please visit the following website:

NIDA International SPR Poster Session

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is sponsoring an international poster session. Posters will highlight drug abuse prevention and/or drug-related HIV prevention research completed in international settings by international, domestic, and cross-nation teams of researchers. A separate call for submissions to this international poster session is issued.

All abstracts must be submitted online at
Please contact Jennifer Lewis for questions at 703-934-4850, ext. 213 or

The abstract site will open Thursday, September 18, 2014
Deadline for Abstract Submission: Friday, November 7, 2014