*Special Interest Groups

Special Interest Group (SIG) Meetings will be held virtually in July and August, 2020.  Registration is required for all events; all events are FREE!

Society for Prevention Research

Virtual Special Interest Group Meetings

All times Eastern


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Tuesday, July 14, 2020; 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Optimization of Multicomponent Interventions

Optimizing multicomponent behavioral (or biobehavioral) interventions means engineering the intervention to meet desired criteria of effectiveness, efficiency, economy, and scalability. An optimized intervention, thereby, has the potential to hasten the progress of prevention science. Innovative methodological approaches for optimization of behavioral interventions have emerged bringing together statisticians, engineers, behavioral scientists, and computer scientists.

The purpose of the Optimization of Multicomponent Interventions SIG is to provide opportunities for networking among an interdisciplinary group who are interested in or are currently optimizing interventions, discussion of existing and emerging methodologies for optimization, and facilitating applications of optimization across a wide area of public health, education, and social welfare priorities.

Co-Conveners: Kate Guastaferro, PhD, Assistant Research Professor, Methodology Center,
The Pennsylvania State University; Jamie Lachman, DPhil, Research Fellow, MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow; Sarabeth Brodert-Fingert, MD, Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Prenatal Programming of Childhood Health Complications: Opportunities for Prevention

The intrauterine environment plays an important and lasting role in shaping lifespan health. Prenatal exposure to toxic environmental stimuli (e.g., pollution, tobacco smoke, maternal stress and substance use) can alter the development of key biological systems (e.g., the neuroendocrine and immune systems and the gut microbiome) and confer risk for chronic health complications. Interventions targeting harmful prenatal exposures have the potential to promote maternal health and prevent the prenatal programming of chronic disease in offspring. Pregnant women have frequent contact with the healthcare system creating unique opportunities for prevention. This special interest group will provide a forum for researchers with an interest in perinatal prevention to network and build cross-disciplinary collaborations. We will discuss a number of topics that are broadly relevant to perinatal prevention researchers, for example: (1) improving identification of high-risk pregnancies in healthcare settings; (2) elucidating prenatal programming mechanisms (e.g., epigenetics) and disease pathways to inform intervention development; (3) overcoming challenges to intervention implementation in relevant settings (e.g., prenatal care clinics); (4) building cross-disciplinary collaborations and community partnerships; and (5) collecting and analyzing biospecimens (e.g., cord blood and placenta). Finally, we will discuss topics for a symposium proposal for the 2021 SPR meeting.

Co-Conveners: Steven M Brunwasser, PhD, Adjunct Research Assistant Professor, Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Judy Garber, PhD, Professor, Psychology & Human Development, Vanderbilt University.

Thursday, July 16, 2020, 2:00 pm -3:00 pm

Research Synthesis Methods for Prevention Science

The purpose of this SIG is to provide an opportunity to network and discuss issues related to research synthesis methods in the field of prevention science. The SIG meeting will provide an opportunity for attendees to discuss recent methodological advances in and challenges associated with methods used to conduct, interpret, report, and disseminate research syntheses. Topics to be discussed may include: advanced meta-analytic methods for complex interventions (e.g., individual participant data meta-analysis, network meta-analysis); challenges with data sharing for integrative syntheses; rating confidence in findings from meta-analyses of complex interventions; and other recent methodological or software innovations. The SIG will provide a valuable networking and professional development resource for prevention scientists interested in research synthesis methodology.

Co-Conveners: Emily Tanner-Smith, PhD, Associate Professor, Counseling Psychology and Human Services, University of Oregon; Sean Grant, PhD, Assistant Professor, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University

Thursday, July 16, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Translating School-Based Aggression and Bullying Prevention Programming into Broader Clinical Practice.

Peer aggression and bullying impact over 30% of school age youth and have a substantial impact on students’ social and emotional functioning and academic achievement. These behaviors can take many forms, including overt/physical (e.g., hitting, pushing, verbal threats, teasing, name-calling) and relational (e.g., gossiping, excluding others), all of which contribute to a host of negative psychosocial and academic outcomes. Although a number of intensive school-based programs have been developed and implemented with positive results when conducted in research trials with high levels of implementation integrity, there remains a significant need for “translating” these best practice strategies to a broader audience. This special interest group will discuss challenges and strategies for feasibly translating empirically-supported strategies to school counselors and teachers within schools that are unable to provide intensive programming, to primary care pediatricians who often screen for peer bullying and victimization, and to outpatient providers who are often called upon to address bullying and victimization with their clients. The need for utilizing empirically-supported approaches to address peer aggression and bullying remains critical across a number of important contexts (e.g., schools, primary care).

Co-Conveners:  Stephen S. Leff, PhD, Professor of Clinical Psychology in Pediatrics & Psychiatry, Child Development/Pediatrics, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia & University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Christine Waanders, PhD,, Psychologist Research, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Wednesday, July 29, 2:00 pm -3:00 pm

Research Needs to Address Disparities in Reproductive Health

Prevention science brings important expertise to research and practice in reproductive health. Preventive interventions are a core feature of such care: the prevention of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, impairments such as infertility, and normative processes that might simply be mistimed such as pregnancy. Most recently, a great deal of attention from researchers, policy makers, and the public has focused on preventing maternal mortality and morbidity. Reproductive health is a particularly appropriate topic for discussion within the 2020 conference theme of Place-Based Prevention Science because access to reproductive health care and birth outcomes for mothers and infants in the United States currently vary significantly by an individual’s state of residence.

This SIG will discuss which aspects of reproductive health prevention science are already present within the SPR community and which aspects are of interest but not yet well represented. For example, risky sexual behavior appears often within a list of problematic behaviors such as delinquency, violence, and the use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. But health promotion and encouraging positive well-being are also essential for reproductive health. Participants will share ideas for future annual meeting activities.

Conveners: Rosalind B King, PhD, Associate Director for Prevention, NICHD; Juanita Chinn,, PhD, Program Director, Population Dynamics Branch, NICHD; Charisee Lamar, PhD, Director, Office of Health Equity, NICHD

JUST ADDED! Tuesday, August 4, 2020; 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Transparency, Replication, and Open Science: Plans for a Special Issue and Consensus Statement in Prevention Science

There is a growing concern and interest in the field of prevention science and other applied sciences regarding issues related to transparency, openness, and reproducibility. To improve the credibility of the scientific enterprise, researchers and other interested stakeholders from several fields have begun to list, develop, and implement transparent, open, and reproducible workflows. Researchers, universities, federal agencies, scientific journals, funders, and professional organizations are seeking guidance and training on how best to incorporate these workflows into their everyday practice. The field of prevention science has yet to engage fully with this movement. Nonetheless, this line of inquiry has significant implications for the work of prevention scientists, such as identifying evidence-based interventions with reproducible change strategies and replicable effects. The field of prevention science could serve as a leader in this movement, given its dedication to developing and disseminating solutions to intractable social problems. Thought leadership is needed to shift the field’s norms and traditional approach to embracing transparency, openness, and reproducibility. This roundtable seeks to address a variety of issues related to the topics of transparency, open science, and reproducibility as they intersect with the field of prevention science. Multiple perspectives on these issues will be discussed and considered, including those of researchers, research institutions, program developers, journals, funders/sponsors, and educators of the next generation of prevention scientists. Discussion will focus on practices that facilitate the reproducibility of research (e.g., study registration, protocol and pre-analysis plan development, material and code sharing) as well as those that facilitate the open availability of research products (data sharing, pre-prints, open access publications). The overarching goal of this discussion is to make a substantive contribution regarding how transparency, openness, and reproducibility can benefit the aims of prevention science as a field, as well as how prevention scientists can contribute their expertise to advancing the wider open science movement. Plans for a special issue of Prevention Science, currently in development and entitled “Transparency, Openness, and Reproducibility: Implications for the Field of Prevention Science” will be discussed.

Convener:  Sean Grant, Assistant Professor, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University

Tuesday, August 4, 2020, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Prevention of Substance Use during Perinatal Period

Opioid, marijuana, and other substance use during pregnancy is a rapidly growing public health concern with significant consequences to both maternal and infant outcomes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have identified the prenatal period as an ideal opportunity for substance use prevention. This SIG meeting will provide an opportunity for prevention scientists to discuss current research efforts and collaborations as well as challenges, including the changing landscape of marijuana laws, and opportunities to advance the field.

Conveners:  Golfo Tzilos Wernette, PhD, Assistant Professor, Family Medicine, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Steven Ondersma, PhD, Professor, Merrill-Palmer Skillman Institute,
Wayne State University

Wednesday, August 5, 2020, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Parenting in the Context of Addiction and Recovery

This special interest group will focus broadly on the impact of addiction on parenting, children, and families. Nearly 12% of children in the U.S. live with a substance-dependent parent, and the impact of addiction on families and children is significant and multifaceted. Parenting is a primary mechanism linking parental addiction to child outcomes. Gaining a better understanding of parenting in the context of addiction – what the challenges are and how we can intervene – is critical in order to address parents’ recovery process and also to improving child and family outcomes. Parenting is stressful for all caregivers, but a large body of research shows that parenting is even more stressful and potentially triggering for parents with addiction. The increased stress related to the parenting role itself may contribute to risk for relapse, overdose, and treatment drop out. The impact of addiction on parenting behaviors is also linked directly to child outcomes, including increased risk for both internalizing and externalizing symptoms, academic struggles, emotion regulation difficulties, and increased risk for subsequent substance use.

Our discussion will focus on research questions, methodology, assessment, and other pressing issues in the field related to the study of parenting and addiction. We will discuss ways in which parenting constructs may look different or be conceptualized differently within the context of addiction, and what this means for our research methods as well as implications for policy, prevention, and treatment.

Conveners: Julia M. Shadur, PhD, Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Science & School of Integrative Studies, George Mason University; Pamela Garner, PhD, Professor, Human Development and Family Science & School of Integrative Studies, George Mason University

Thursday, August 6, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Adapting and/or Re-Evaluating Evidence-Informed Complex Population Health Interventions for Implementation in New Contexts: Guidance Development

The adaptation of evidence-informed complex population health interventions for use in new contexts (e.g. different countries or different populations) has become common practice in recent years. To date there is no over-arching guidance on decision-making processes for undertaking adaptation and planning for re-evaluation. The UK Medical Research Council has funded guidance development for researchers, funders, journal editors, policy-makers and practitioners.

This Special Interest Group will explore key questions and uncertainties in relation to intervention adaptation, which can support guidance development:

  • How can we decide if a new intervention should be developed or an existing intervention should be adapted? 2.) How can we decide upon the types and extent of adaptation that can be undertaken? 3.)  What are the key processes that should be undertaken when adapting an intervention? 4.) How can we decide upon the extent of re-evaluation (e.g. feasibility study, RCT) required in the new context? 5.) What should be included in guidance on the adaptation and/or re-evaluation of interventions in new contexts?

Conveners: Rhiannon Evans, PhD, Senior Lectuer, DECIPHer, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University;  Graham Evans, PhD, School of Social Sciences, DECIPHer

JUST ADDED! Wednesday, August 12, 2020; 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Suicide Risk Among Latinx Youth: Collaborating to Build Multilevel Prevention Strategies

Latinx youth comprise 25% of the U.S. youth population, and have been identified as having high risk for suicidal ideation and attempts over the past several decades. More recently, negative attitudes towards immigrants and unpredictable immigration policies have had a documented impact on Latinx youth mental health. Yet, there are no evidence-based suicide prevention strategies addressing the specific needs of Latinx youth.

The SIG facilitators have collaborated with a multi-stakeholder group to conduct pilot studies and develop a suicide prevention network entitled “Unifying Families for Suicide Prevention Among Immigrant Youth (UNIFY-SP).” We held a summit in 2019 to gather support and bring together interested stakeholders. The purpose of this SIG meeting is to further strengthen this network by convening researchers and practitioners with a broad range of perspectives on the topics of Latinx youth mental health and suicide prevention.

The discussion will aim to identify promising prevention practices across ecological levels (individual, family, schools, neighborhoods, and communities), including pilot programs, community practices, and programs that are not focused on suicide prevention but may prevent suicidal behavior. The SIG will foster new collaboration opportunities and contribute to developing a research agenda for Latinx youth suicide prevention.

Co-Conveners: Kiara Alvarez, PhD, Instructor, Disparities Research Unity, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Holly C. Wilcox, PhD, Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University.

Call for Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

Submission Deadline: October 31, 2019

Download PDF version of SPR 2020 Call for Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

The Program Planning Committee of the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) is offering the opportunity to hold Special Interest Group (SIG) meetings at the 28th Annual Meeting. We invite members to convene and chair a SIG. The purpose of the SIGs is to facilitate networking opportunities of conference attendees who would like to discuss in greater depth a specific prevention research, policy, or practice topic. The SIG convener(s) is expected to be in attendance, register for the conference, and facilitate the meeting, which will be open to all interested SPR conference attendees. The SIG can be formal with a planned agenda or informal depending upon the convener(s) and the participants.

To submit your SIG request, click here. You will be asked to provide

  • Convener(s) name and full contact information.
  • Title of SIG
  • 150 – 250 word description

Conveners may request a repeat of a prior SIG (see list below) or request a new SIG. SPR will coordinate the meeting space and time.

The SIGs will be scheduled for Wednesday, May 27 or Thursday, May 28, 2020, from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, which is during the lunch break (11:45 am – 1:15 pm). Participants would purchase a lunch in the hotel or from one of the lunch spots nearby the hotel and bring it with them to the meeting. Meeting space is limited. We will confirm your request via e-mail by January 31, 2020. If the number of requests exceeds space limitations, the SPR Program Planning Committee will prioritize decisions based on representing a diversity of SIGs to best capture the interests of the membership. Confirmed SIGs will be listed in the conference program, which will indicate the date, time, convener(s), and meeting room assignment.

SIGs from 2017, 2018 and 2019 include a wide range of topics:
  • Addressing Structural and interpersonal racism to reduce health disparities, SPR Diversity Network Committee, 2019
  • Advancing Strong Standards for Preventive Interventions, 2019
  • American Indian and Alaska Native Prevention Research, 2018 and 2019/Prevention Research Among American Indians and Alaska Natives, 2017
  • Building Prevention Workforce Capacity through Prevention Technology Transfer Centers, 2019
  • Boys and Young Men of Color – Research and Practice, 2018
  • Culturally Responsive Strategies for the Prevention of Trauma among Secondary Victims of Violence, Diversity Network Committee, 2018
  • Fostering Health and Wellbeing among LGBT Populations, 2017
  • Funding Information Session: What’s New (representatives from DHHS, NIH, CDC, William T. Grant Foundation), 2019
  • Funding Opportunities for Research-Practice Partnerships and to Study the Use and Usefulness of Research Evidence, 2017
  • Healthy Parenting in Primary Care, 2017, 2018, 2019
  • How Do We Expand Prevention Science Research into Later Life?, 2018
  • Integrated Primary Care and Culture of Prevention in American Indian Communities, 2017
  • Measuring Health Disparities, Diversity Network Committee, 2017
  • National Institute on Aging, 2017
  • Optimization of Multicomponent Interventions, 2017
  • Optimization Prevention of Partner Abuse, 2017
  • Prenatal Programming of Childhood Health Complications: Opportunities for Prevention
  • Prevention and Multimorbidity, 2017
  • Prevention in High Schools Dialogue: Leadership, Restorative Justice, PBIS, Student Assistance Programs and Others, 2019
  • Prevention Research and Positive Youth Development in Low and Middle-Income Countries, 2018, 2019
  • Prevention Research with Foster Care & Juvenile System Involved Youth, 2017
  • Prevention Research with Out of Home Youth – Foster Care & Juvenile Justice System involved Youth, 2018
  • Prevention Science and LGBTQ Population Health, 2018, 2019
  • Prevention Science Graduate Training Programs, 2018
  • Promoting Innovation in Prevention, 2018
  • Pushing prevention research past road blocks and towards improving public health, 2019
  • Research Gaps in Multilevel Preventive Interventions to Enhance Health and Reduce Health Disparities, 2017
  • Research Needs in Substance Abuse and Mental Health Preventive Services, 2018
  • Research Synthesis Methods for Prevention Science, 2018, 2019
  • Research Transparency, Openness, and Reproducibility, 2018, 2019
  • School Mental Health, 2017
  • Science of Behavior Change (SOBC), 2018
  • Social Emotional Learning as Intervention for Educators of Vulnerable Youth Populations, 2018
  • Supporting Students through School-Community Approaches, 2018
  • The U.S. Opioid Crisis-Research to Inform Prevention-Based Solutions, 2018
  • Trauma-informed Violence Prevention in Schools, 2017
  • Unleashing the Power of Prevention, 2017, 2018, 2019