Call for Papers

Call for Papers

2/21/2024: Abstract status notifications are anticipated to go out mid-March.

Submission Deadline: October 31, 2023


Advancing Partnerships and Collaborative Approaches in Prevention Science

For prevention science and evidence based preventive interventions (EBPIs) to reach individuals equitably, partnerships and collaborations are critical. Partnerships and collaborative approaches that are community-driven and/or community-led can effectively answer important health and social challenges, as well as be acceptable and sustainable in their context. Often, prevention scientists take a top-down approach in conducting epidemiological research or evaluating and implementing EBPIs with researchers being the primary drivers and decisionmakers. Top-down approaches can result in interventions that community members do not want to participate in or do not adequately reflect participants’ cultural context because community values, priorities, and needs are often minimized and/or marginalized. On the other hand, a ground-up approach invests in community-based, collaborative approaches to inform the research questions and to adapt or develop intervention approaches.  These partnerships and collaborations take a considerable amount of time and work to build a foundation for which research can be promoted, especially to engage and reach populations that have historically been marginalized and underserved. This upfront investment, however, often pays off by enhancing community acceptability, engagement, and sustainability. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is one method for conducting research that promotes community relevance, social action and co-learning. Other examples of collaborative methods include but are not limited to youth participatory action research (YPAR) and photovoice. More recently novel and innovative applications of community-engaged research (CER) to prevention research are emerging. These community-led methods and intervention strategies must be promoted as equally valid approaches compared to traditional prevention research methods.

This year’s conference theme complements the last three conference themes (The Role of Prevention Science in Achieving Social Justice and Health Equity for All, Realizing the Power of Prevention through Equitable Dissemination & Implementation Science, Addressing Racism and Disparities when Considering Biology and Context). Partnerships and collaborative approaches are a keystone of the continued equity focus. Equitable partnerships and collaborations aim to engage diverse voices, particularly voices that have been silenced and ignored.  As such, all collaborators, including researchers, program implementers, providers and practitioners, community members, and users of prevention science are needed to identify problems, needs, strengths, and assets, and to produce solutions with and within communities. In particular, equal partnerships and collaborative approaches which are beneficial to the community, but are not predatory, need to be highlighted and utilized as examples for the field. Presentations with community partner presenters or co-presenters are highly encouraged.

2024 Special Conference Themes

Consistent with this year’s conference theme, Advancing Partnerships and Collaborative Approaches in Prevention Science, 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) Developing and applying collaborative methods for co-designing and co-adapting evidence-based preventive interventions especially for marginalized populations; 2) Integrating evidence-based preventive interventions in partnership with diverse communities and systems; and 3) Innovations in community-led and community-engaged team science.

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, intervention, and dissemination and implementation research abstract submissions across these special themes.

Special theme #1: Developing and applying collaborative methods for co-designing and co-adapting evidence-based preventive interventions especially for marginalized populations

Working effectively with a range of key partners and community members to develop EBPIs or to culturally adapt an existing EBPI is significant to understand, document, and be able to replicate. However, the process of using collaborative methods when developing and adapting EBPIs does not always receive a great deal of attention in evaluations of preventive interventions. It is important to share insights about these methods as they often require more time, and potentially more resources, to develop. Examples of successful community partnerships that have been able to effectively develop, adapt, and/or evaluate EBPIs are welcome. In particular, we are interested in partnerships with diverse collaborators, including religious and faith-based institutions, local government structures, and local non-profits. Establishing partnerships through community-based collaborative approaches and culturally-grounded collaborations can become a gold standard for prevention science.

Special theme #2: Integrating evidence-based preventive interventions in partnership with diverse communities and systems

Coordinated implementation delivery of EBPIs within communities and a variety of systems, such as healthcare, education, criminal legal, and child welfare, is important in promoting EPBI dissemination and sustainability. This could also involve health-related policies at federal, state, county, and local/municipality levels. Additionally, community engagement strategies are essential to producing and implementing interventions that promote health equity at the community level, and also essential to shift the power dynamics from researchers to community representatives. Examples of effective implementation  of EBPIs in communities and integration in various systems (e.g., health care, justice), as well as research on the best practices of how this integration can be facilitated, especially in partnership with diverse communities, are welcome.

Special theme #3: Innovations in community-led and community-engaged team science

We seek innovation in community-led and community-engaged team science that aims to advance all stages of prevention science from understanding the etiology of behavioral health problems to EBPI development, evaluation, and broad scale-up. We are encouraging team science that is a collaborative effort to advance prevention science and leverages the strengths and expertise of professionals trained in different fields and disciplines. Team science may utilize CER  principles and strategies that have been documented for many years, but this theme calls for papers demonstrating how prevention science efforts utilize and promote community-based strategies and methods in a novel way. It is important to reflect present day realities and pressures to have EBPIs available to individuals as soon as possible. Potential research questions include how communities can lead, as well as how they can be collaboratively engaged, as part of the research team. Other research questions include the documentation and measurement of CER methodologies and its impact on outcomes. Engagement and compensation of community members in designing, conducting, interpreting and/or disseminating prevention research from the inception of a project is essential and should be highlighted.

General Conference Themes: Advances in Prevention Research

Epidemiology and Etiology: Submissions under this theme are focused on describing the distribution and patterns of injury and disease (e.g., cancer, cardiovascular disease, substance use disorders, violence, depression, and HIV/AIDS) as well as on identifying risk and protective targets of preventive interventions, especially those with a developmental and/or life course approach, or that include neurobiological, genetic, equity 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 and with diverse populations. 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 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 decision 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, new approaches to improving the educational system, and preventive approaches to address maternal mortality health disparities. 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 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 or immigration policy, along with recurring areas of concern such as cancer screening, HIV antiretroviral therapy compliance, education policy, firearm policy, obesity prevention, health and mental health parity, 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, including health equity, are invited. That 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 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. See the separate call for poster abstracts at

Abstract Submission Instructions

NOTE IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR 2024 Abstract Submissions:

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.

All abstracts must be submitted online at

Submission Deadline: October 31, 2023