Call for Papers

Call for Papers

Submission Deadline: October 31, 2022

Social justice is the concept that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. Social justice is imperative for health equity and the attainment of the highest level of health for all. Taking into account dynamic changes to physical environments (e.g., climate change), socioeconomic circumstances (e.g., income inequality), and the sociopolitical landscape, this year’s conference theme, The Role of Prevention Science in Achieving Social Justice and Health Equity for All, aims to highlight the need for etiological research and innovative upstream and downstream interventions that have the potential to make meaningful advances to achieve health equity.

While complex, these social and contextual challenges are an opportunity for prevention scientists to lead research on the creation, adaptation, and adoption of evidence-based interventions and propose novel/exploratory strategies (e.g., policies, multi-sector partnerships) that are sustainable, target root causes that prevent health equity, and mitigate the adverse effects of systemic inequities and health syndemics.

2023 Special Conference Themes

Each year, SPR selects three special themes designed to highlight specific areas of research relevant to prevention science and the overall conference theme. The SPR Conference Committee encourages basic, etiological, and intervention research abstract submissions with clear implications for translation across these special themes.

Consistent with this year’s conference theme, The Role of Prevention Science in Achieving Social Justice and Health Equity for All, the SPR Conference Committee encourages special conference theme submissions related to research that addresses pressing needs and the role of prevention science in three areas: 1) Structural inequality and health equity in marginalized populations and communities; 2) Advancing gender and health equity in the context of social justice; and 3) Addressing the impacts of climate change on health equity in the context of social justice.

Special theme #1. Structural inequality and health equity in marginalized populations and communities

Structural inequality refers to a system in which institutions cultivate biases that provide advantages to some members of society while creating disadvantages for others. Structural inequalities are often deeply rooted in societies and occur throughout the world, and thus create and exacerbate health disparities among marginalized and oppressed populations that in essence subject them to social injustice. Toward the ultimate goal of eliminating structural inequalities and their impact on health, prevention science can prioritize research and interventions that identify and address both upstream and downstream determinants.

The SPR Conference Committee invites submissions under this theme that apply novel and/or multilevel strategies to prevent and address health inequities that are affecting historically marginalized and oppressed populations and communities.

Special theme #2. Advancing gender health equity in the context of social justice

In many societies, including developed countries, achieving gender health equity is a significant public health challenge. Gender-based inequities are generated by differential opportunities in education and employment; discrimination; unequal power in relationships between different genders; laws and policies that differentially impact health by gender; social norms that dictate stereotyped reproductive and caregiving roles by gender; and risk of physical, sexual, and emotional violence between genders. The intersectionality of gender membership with other statuses means that these inequities are exacerbated for racial/ethnic minority women and gender minorities. Prevention science can advance research to better understand gender-based health disparities and build an evidence base for interventions to foster gender health equity, particularly among members of multiply disadvantaged groups and across developmental stages of the lifespan (e.g., children, youth, adults, older adults).

The SPR Conference Committee invites submissions under this theme that address issues such as 1) interactions of biology and social determinants of health that may influence gender health equity; 2) health syndemics of substance/alcohol abuse, violence, HIV/AIDS, mental health, or obesity; 3) strategies to prevent and alleviate the health impacts (e.g., reproductive health, mental health) of gender-based public policies; and 4) applying an intersectionality framework to advance health equity prevention research among women, particularly those further marginalized by race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender expression.

Special theme #3. Addressing the impacts of global climate change on health equity in the context of social justice

Climate change is creating long-term changes to global ecosystems manifested by increased temperatures and disruptive weather patterns and is impacting the health and well-being of people around the globe. In the context of social justice, this is a significant public health problem because climate change effects are disproportionately impacting historically underserved and low-income populations, racial/ethnic minorities, indigenous populations, and specific geographic locations (e.g., island communities, coastal areas, rural areas). Adaptation measures that equitably build resilient individuals, families, communities, and regions and mitigation efforts that reduce risks in an equitable and social justice approach are needed for addressing climate change. Submissions are requested to address issues related to the adaptation and mitigation of climate change. Topic areas include, but are not limited to, mental health (e.g., anxiety, depression, PTSD), maladaptive coping (e.g., alcohol and drug use), migration (e.g., between and within countries), violence (e.g., violence against women), social disruption (e.g., wars, social unrest), food and water insecurity, diseases (e.g., vector-borne, water-borne, food-borne, respiratory), and models of equitable health care and community response systems that reflect social justice and inclusion.

The SPR Conference Committee invites submissions under this theme that address issues such as 1) improving individual, family, and community adaptation to climate change, for example, plans for community resilience in the Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) Framework; 2) strategies of mitigation that prevent/reduce the impact of climate change and that ensure that health inequities are not created or exacerbated; 3) developing systems and responses that identify, reach, and collaborate with vulnerable populations that may be most threatened by climate change.

General Conference Themes: Advances in Prevention Research

Epidemiology and Etiology: Submissions under this theme are focused on describing the distribution and patterns of morbidity, mortality, and health (e.g., cancer, cardiovascular disease, substance use disorders, 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.

Development and Testing of Interventions: Prevention interventions can 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. 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 research bridge the gap 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; improve dissemination and implementation processes;  identify individual, provider, organizational, and/or system levels factors; engage community and system collaborators and decisions makers; and that contribute to dissemination, implementation, and effectiveness are encouraged.

Research, Policy, and Practice: Decision-makers around the world emphasize evidence-based policy reform. New policy initiatives at the state and national levels require evidence to guide further policy change, such as changes in opioid prescribing practice guidelines and new approaches to improving the educational system. This theme encourages submissions that evaluate or estimate the outcomes of planned, new, or existing policies, that look at the impact of efficacious programs in emerging policy contexts, and 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 or immigration policy, along with recurring areas such as cancer screening, HIV antiretroviral therapy compliance, education policy, gun safety, obesity prevention, and anti-bullying laws and policies. Submissions focused on international research or comparative research across policy contexts and submissions that combine the findings of such research with one of the special conference themes are particularly encouraged.

Innovative Methods and Statistics: “Cutting edge” studies and methodological analyses that address measurement, statistical, and design challenges to prevention science are invited. This includes studies of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches. Studies that use advanced methods but do not directly study a novel statistical, methodological, or design question should be submitted to one of the other themes. Presentations should highlight the challenges related to prevention science that these innovative design and statistical methods can address and the additional benefits gained by using these techniques.

NIDA International SPR Poster Session

The SPR International Program and the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) will host the annual NIDA International SPR Poster Session held in conjunction with the SPR annual meeting. Posters should highlight research on the prevention of drug use, prevention of drug use in combination with alcohol use, or prevention of HIV/AIDS in the context of drug use or drug and alcohol use. The separate NIDA International SPR Poster Session call for poster abstracts will be available separately mid-September.

All abstracts must be submitted online at

Submission Deadline: October 31, 2022

For questions regarding online abstract submissions, the peer review process, or other details, please contact Jennifer Lewis by email at or by telephone at 703-934-4850, ext. 3.

Society for Prevention Research

11240 Waples Mill Road, Suite 200, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA

703-934-4850 (Phone), 703-359-7562 (fax)

Back to top