Society for Prevention Research
2014 Awards Presentation at 22nd Annual Meeting, Washington, DC
May 29, 2014

Download 2014 awards program booklet (PDF)

SPR 2014 Fellows

This year, we are pleased and proud to present the second cohort of SPR Fellows. The SPR Fellowship is an honor that the Society for Prevention Research bestows upon a small and select group of members who have a particularly distinguished record of contributions in the field of prevention research. A distinguished record reflects a substantial body of work that has had a broad and significant impact on prevention science.

Read Press Release, 6/6/2014 (PDF)

C. Hendricks Brown, PhD
C. Hendricks Brown, PhD

Dr. C. Hendricks Brown has had a significant role in the context of the history of prevention science over the last four decades in regard to developing knowledge of risk factors, the new methodologies required for time dependent analyses, designs for rigorous testing of interventions, and his collaboration in major trials in which he led the analytic strategies and played a major role in the design. He played a critical role in all of these areas leading to the current availability of tested programs to aid in the prevention of drug, behavioral and mental problems and disorders. The prevention field has now entered the newly developing stage of implementation science, and his role has grown more vital and centrally important than ever. Dr. Brown is certainly one of the most imaginative biostatisticians and design experts in our field today. He is insistent on quality and rigor yet flexible and open to new approaches and creative problem solving.

Dr. Brown has a strong commitment to diversity issues and a willingness to take on areas of inquiry that are difficult but critical to study. He has the rare ability to make complex statistical analyses and methods understandable and accessible to researchers, practitioners, and policy makers while simultaneously conveying the potential and  importance of using sophisticated methods to glean critical information to promote public health impacts.

Dr. Brown has participated in an extraordinary amount of service on advisory panels, much of it dedicated to advancement of the prevention science agenda. For example, recently he served as a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on the Priorities for a Public Health Research Agenda to Reduce the Threat of Fire Arm Violence. He is currently a member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and the Federal Advisory Committee on the National Evaluation of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. These three committees are reflective of a portion of his current commitments; additionally, he is active on 4 other scientific advisory boards. In all, Dr. Brown has served on 16 additional high profile and influential committees over the past 10 years.

Additionally, Dr. Brown is an avid presenter having done over 50 scientific presentations since 2007, 8 of which were at SPR conferences and pre-conferences. His total number of scientific presentations number over 175 since 1988. Aside from the large quantity, this is a remarkable record because of the breadth of the audiences he has addressed ranging from universities and government agencies to practitioner and community groups. There are clear threads that run throughout these numerous presentations reflecting Dr. Brown’s enduring interest in using cutting edge methods to address public health problems such as suicide prevention, combining data from multiple trials to maximize knowledge, a commitment to ending racial and ethnic disparities, and most strongly to prevention and the conduct of meaningful prevention trials. Dr. Brown’s publication record is equally impressive. He is a productive and collaborative scientist often addressing complex and “big” topics that have strong potential to advance how we think about using study designs and data in new prevention science contexts. His recent paper with David Mohr and others on “A computational future for preventing HIV in Minority Communities: How Advanced Technology Can Improve Implementation of Effective Programs” is one very recent example. Dr. Brown’s work is published in a wide array of journals reflecting the diversity of his influence and the contribution that he has made to the dissemination of prevention science.

Dr. Brown’s work has not only contributed to but it has led the cutting edge of methodology for the use of advanced statistical tools in prevention science, and more recently in the emerging field of implementation science. Two examples underscore his seminal work in methods development. He founded the Prevention Science Methodology Group (PSMG) in 1995 and since then has secured continuous funding through grants from the National Institutes of Health. The PSMG is a collaborative network of leading prevention science methodologists in the United States that has bi-weekly virtual presentations and discussions of emerging issues and methods, encompassing topics such as meditational analysis, longitudinal trajectory analytic techniques, system science developments in agent based modeling, system dynamics and social network analysis. In 2014 he initiated a series of bi-weekly seminars on developments in implementation science. The second example is his NIDA-funded Center for Prevention Implementation Methodology (Ce-PIM) for Drug Abuse and Sexual Risk Behavior. Ce-Pim has the goals of integrating and extending system science methods in implementation science. Ce-Pim will work to facilitate the seamless integration of methodology into the next generation of implementation research on drug use and sexual risk behavior, and develop a new hybridized form of implementation research by integrating methods within the practice of prevention science and implementation science at the federal, state, county, and local levels. This is a critical set of directions that will advance the agenda of prevention science into the public policy arena and move the prevention field towards realizing widespread public health impacts.

Dr. Brown has consistently demonstrated throughout his career a passion for developing the research trajectories of early career investigators. This is exemplified in the enrollment of numerous promising early career statisticians, methodologists, and substantive researchers in prevention science into the PSMG processes. Many have gone on to have highly productive and federally funded careers in leading academic departments across the country. In his current NIDA-funded center, annual resources are used to award four to five young investigators funding to conduct promising pilot studies that can lead to individual project grants from federal agencies such as NIH. Intertwined with this passion for supporting early career investigators has been Dr. Brown’s support for research on health disparities and minority researchers wishing to address research related to such disparities.

In closing, Dr. Brown has an extraordinary record of creativity, productivity, and dedication to the field of prevention science.

William B. Hansen, PhD
William B. Hansen, PhD

Dr. William B. Hansen has been President of Tanglewood Research since 1993. He is a widely recognized expert in alcohol and drug prevention. He has written numerous curricula for school and community-based prevention, including Project SMART, Project STAR, and All Stars. Dr. Hansen has authored over 80 articles in scientific journals on research and evaluation methods, prevention theory, and strategies for successful prevention practice. The goal of his research has been to identify and evaluate evidence-based approaches to prevention that can achieve reductions in the onset of use and that can be applied in everyday settings.

One of his greatest contributions to the field has been in intervention development, and in particular, the application of theory to the design of efficacious and effective interventions. Perhaps he is best known for his application of the tenets of the Theory of Planned Behavior to school-based interventions for the prevention of substance abuse and other risk behaviors among adolescents. The articulation and testing of the “normative education” approach has advanced the field in highly significant ways. While many prevention scientists have strived to “change social norms” using a variety of intervention strategies, Dr. Hansen is one of the few who has fully operationalized norms and processes of changing norms, including measuring the extent to which interventions have indeed resulted in norm change and whether such changes mediate positive outcomes.

Another important contribution that Dr. Hansen and his collaborators have made is to emphasize and model (through example) the importance of studying mediation of intervention effects. For example, in his publications on All Stars, his most recent school-based drug abuse prevention intervention, he has consistently discussed the importance of articulating hypothesized pathways of mediation; and in the key program effects papers, he and his co-authors have reported both main effects and mediated effects. Earlier in his career, he contributed to a paper on the mediating mechanisms of the Midwestern Prevention Project that has been cited widely. This emphasis on mediation is consistent with his early work on several of the important methodological issues in the field, including the validity of self-reported behaviors, the role of attrition in intervention studies, and the application of multi-level analytic strategies. For example, among Dr. Hansen’s publications that have been cited widely include a 1985 paper on strategies for dealing with attrition in prevention research and a 1990 meta-analysis of attrition in longitudinal prevention studies.

Dr. Hansen’s scholarship provides one of the best examples of the translation of scientific findings in our field into practice. He was recognized for this role as one of the first recipients of SPR’s Prevention Research to Practice Award (2001). Although he might be considered someone who has been a “translation” scientist since the start of his career, his recent work on program implementation, including fidelity and adaptation, has been particularly important in contributing to our understanding of how to move evidence-based prevention into widespread practice.

Throughout his career, Dr. Hansen has published widely. He has written many types of papers, from empirical to theoretical to papers on the “state of the science/art.” Among his most influential publications have been the latter (e.g., 1992 paper on the state of the art in substance abuse prevention curricula; 2001 paper on the future of prevention science; 2004 paper on the translation of research to practice; and 2010 paper on current and future directions in drug abuse prevention). It is impressive that Dr. Hansen has been so productive in terms of publication given he has not worked in an academic environment for many years. His publication record is testimony to his dedication to the field of prevention science.

Elizabeth B. Robertson, PhD
Elizabeth B. Robertson, PhD

Dr. Elizabeth B. Robertson has had a major influence on the field of prevention science through her scholarship, leadership, advocacy, outreach, and mentoring activities over the past 18 years working with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Dr. Robertson served from 1995 to 2011 as chief of the Prevention Research Branch (PRB), and from 2011 through March 2014 as Senior Advisor for Prevention Research within the Branch.

Dr. Robertson has been a visionary and luminary in the field of prevention science for the past 18 years. She has repeatedly anticipated the needs of the field and has advocated tirelessly on its behalf with the goals of first supporting funding to build the evidence base for innovative prevention interventions across the developmental spectrum and second advancing understudied areas of prevention science, such as services research and systems research, so that evidence based interventions can reach the people who need them. In her role as Chief, PRB, NIDA, Dr. Robertson inherited a portfolio that was primarily focused on school-based drug abuse prevention in middle school aged youth and transformed it to better address the individualized prevention needs of diverse populations, high-risk youth, rural youth, and adults and families. Under her leadership, the PRB mission was crystallized to emphasize theory driven basic, clinical and services research across the life span. Using an ecological framework, she oversaw the expansion of the research portfolio to reach individuals in different contexts (e.g., family, school, work place, criminal justice and social welfare systems, clinical and recreational settings, the media), increasing the reach and impact of interventions. These refinements in the mission and approach were instrumental in helping to expand the research supported within the PRB.

Dr. Robertson had the vision to recognize the importance of research examining the long-term outcomes of prevention interventions. Because of her leadership in obtaining NIDA funding support, a body of evidence now exists documenting the long-term effect of prevention interventions on drug abuse and a broad array of problem behaviors in youth, including behaviors not specifically targeted by interventions. In addition, she has made a major contribution to the field in synthesizing the findings of the PRB to develop principles of prevention that resulted in the 2003 second edition publication of the National Institute on Drug Abuse “Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents: A Research-Based Guide for Parents, Educators and Community Leaders.” This publication has been disseminated both nationally and internationally and is affectionately referred to as “The Red Book.” Although written for a lay audience, “The Red Book” has become a resource for both researchers and policy makers.

More recent efforts have included synthesizing the literature on interventions delivered in early childhood; this synthesis has illustrated that intervening early in childhood to address proximal risks can change the developmental trajectory in a positive manner to prevent later distal outcomes of substance use and abuse. These principles of prevention focused on early intervention were presented to a small select group of practitioners at the CADCA Forum in February 2012 and reviewed in a roundtable at the 2013 meeting of the Society for Prevention Research. It is anticipated that a supplement to “The Red Book” on these principles of prevention of early intervention will be released by NIDA in the next few months. Dr. Robertson has also been working on synthesizing the literature on program service delivery for drug abuse prevention, which resulted in a pre-conference workshop at the 2012 meeting of the Society for Prevention Research entitled “Emerging Principles of Drug Abuse Prevention: Program Delivery.” A NIDA publication summarizing this work is in preparation.

Dr. Robertson has made a major contribution to advancing the field of Type 2 translational research or prevention services through funding initiatives, program announcements, scientific meetings, presentations and publications. Under her direction and advocacy NIDA has funded large scale randomized controlled trials testing specific models for implementing evidence-based prevention interventions in existing and created settings and systems. The knowledge derived from these trials has made a major contribution to the field regarding what is needed for large scale implementation of evidence-based interventions, and findings from this research have demonstrated the potential for these models to produce a public health impact. These efforts have not gone unnoticed, as the accomplishments of the Prevention Research Branch at NIDA were highlighted in the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine 2009 report, “Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities.” In addition, Dr. Robertson has also made a contribution to advancing the field of Type 1 translational research throughout the years. Select examples include “NIDA National Prevention Research Initiative: Using Basic Science to Develop New Directions in Drug Abuse Prevention Research (RFA DA02-10), and “Prevention and Genetics Meeting” held October 27, 2011.

Helene R. White, PhD
Helene R. White, PhD

Dr. Helene R. White’s research, for over 35 years has focused on the study of alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and other drug use behaviors from an interdisciplinary perspective and using longitudinal data. While researchers commonly specialize in one particular area, social scientific understanding of complex social problems such as addictive behaviors requires a blend of expertise across multiple disciplines including sociology, criminology, developmental psychology, and clinical psychology. Dr. White’s ability and success at applying this interdisciplinary perspective to the study of addictive behaviors makes her research unique, and she has published in many of the leading journals in each of these disciplines. Another unique characteristic of Dr. White’s research has been to use a life course perspective to explore causal mechanisms that predict addictive behavior. Her longitudinal research explores the etiology, consequences, and co-occurrence of substance use and other problem behaviors, especially criminal offending and violence.

In particular, she has investigated the interactions of individual and environmental factors and how they shape the development of substance use and criminal behavior, emphasizing the role of childhood and adolescent risk and protective factors on the development of these behaviors over the life course. The importance of her research lies in its ability to explain and predict the impact of acute and chronic substance use upon the physiological, psychological, and social development of users as well as the impact on society in general. In addition, this etiological research forms the basis for the development of preventive interventions.

Her early research with the Rutgers Health and Human Development Project (HHDP) and other longitudinal data sets made innovative methodological contributions to the substance use field. She and her colleagues were among the first researchers to apply person-centered analyses to understand trajectories of substance use and their antecedents and consequences. These types of analyses are now commonly used in outcome evaluations. Another major methodological contribution was the development of the Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index (RAPI) with E. Labouvie. The RAPI has been used throughout the world as a tool for assessing adolescent and young adult problem drinking in clinical settings and research studies, and has been translated into at least three foreign languages. The RAPI has become one of the “gold standards” assessment tools throughout the world for measuring problem drinking in studies evaluating alcohol prevention programs for college students.

Her early research on the development of substance use examined factors predicting substance use in adolescence and on the short- and long-term consequences of adolescent substance use for physical and psychological health and for the attainment of adult roles. Dr. White’s current work extends that research to changes in substance use during emerging and young adulthood. This body of research has broadened the perspective in the field and has highlighted the need for researchers to move beyond studying convenient college samples. Her results have also highlighted the need for substance use prevention programs for non-college emerging adults. Dr. White’s research on developmental trajectories of substance use identified the transition out of high school as being a particularly critical period in the life course in which substance use prevention was needed. This led her to translate her etiological research into developing prevention programs for this age group. In 2003, she and her colleagues at the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies, were awarded a NIDA Transdisciplinary Prevention Research Center (TPRC) grant to study substance use prevention during important developmental transitions (PI: R. Pandina). Currently, White and her colleague, Eun-Young Mun, are conducting an innovative integrated data analysis (IDA) study of raw data from 24 studies including more than 22,000 students. This is a highly important study because it has the potential to identify mechanisms of change and intervention moderators, which is difficult to achieve in a single study due to small Ns.

Dr. White’s professional success can be measured by the quality, quantity, and diversity of her publications, external funding, collaborative relationships with colleagues across many disciplines, and professional recognition. To date, she has published over 120 articles in refereed journals and 40 chapters. Of these, 50 of the articles and 30 of the chapters are first-authored. Dr. White has also co-authored one book, co-edited three books, and guest-edited two issues of the Journal of Drug Issues. Her work has been highly cited and she is listed on the Web of Science ISI Highly Cited list. According to the Web of Science, her citation index is greater than 4000 citations.  Dr. White has been awarded grants in excess of $8 million as PI or co-PI and $6 million as co-investigator to support data collection and/or analyses for several longitudinal studies. In summary, she is known for her extensive collaborations with colleagues throughout the U.S. and has received several awards for her scholarly and service contributions to the substance use field.

SPR 2014 Awards

The SPR Sloboda & Bukoski Cup is presented to the team winning the annual SPR Cup Competition. The SPR Cup is an opportunity for a unique experience: several independent groups of scientists, each working with the same data set prior to the conference, conducted a literature review, generated hypotheses, conducted analyses, and prepared a presentation. Teams presented their results at a special symposium during the SPR Annual Meeting. A panel of judges and audience members rated the quality of the research and the presentation.

Presidential Award

Elizabeth B. Robertson, PhD
Elizabeth B. Robertson, PhD

The Presidential Award is given to those who have made a major lifetime contribution to prevention science research.

This year, we are pleased to present the Presidential Award to Dr. Elizabeth B. Robertson who has served as Chief of the Prevention Research Branch (PRB), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for more than fourteen years and as Senior Advisor for Prevention Research for the past two years. Because NIDA leads the world in supporting research on prevention of drug use and abuse as PRB Chief Dr. Robertson played a unique role in shaping the direction of this research and in fact broadened the scope of NIDA prevention research in three critically significant directions. First, she championed the inclusion of key theoretical foundations for prevention research specifically the development life course perspective, as well as a deliberate focus on contextual factors. This has helped lead to identifying efficacious and effective prevention interventions targeted across the lifespan.

These interventions are literally too numerous to list here, but they extend from early childhood to adolescence to emerging adulthood and beyond, in settings such as families, schools, social/peer groups and communities. Second, Dr. Robertson guided NIDA prevention research to explicitly link basic science findings to developing prevention interventions (Type 1 Translation). Due in large part to this emphasis, NIDA has been among the leaders of NIH Institutes in supporting Type 1 Translation in prevention. Third, Dr. Robertson recognized the woefully large gap between scientific knowledge and prevention practice in the field and guided NIDA prevention research to focus more on dissemination and implementation science, including developing and testing systems for implementing effective prevention programs (Type 2 Translation).

Dr. Robertson has written or co-written 17 peer reviewed publications, 10 book chapters, and 8 government position papers, many of which are considered to be fundamental sources; she published with a strikingly wide range of co-authors from across varied corners of prevention science. This range speaks to her recognition and influence across the field.

Additionally, Dr. Robertson led the development of concise set of prevention principles, distilled and synthesized from robust research findings, into a simple easy-to-grasp summary to provide effective, appropriate, and practical approaches to communities working to prevention drug abuse among children and adolescents. This seminal document, Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents: A Research-Based Guide for
Parents, Educators, and Community Leaders, was first published in 1997 and expanded significantly in a second edition in 2003.

Dr. Robertson has been active and influential in SPR itself over many years. Among her many contributions to the Society are her services to the Knowledge Development Task Force and the MAPS II, Type 2 Translational Research Task Force, as well as services to a number of committees (such as the Annual Programming Planning Committee, Review Committee and the Standards of Evidence Task Force).

In sum, a review of Dr. Robertson’s career achievements clearly reveals a truly rare configuration of field-advancing accomplishments. Her unique career pattern is exhibited by a singular vision for advancing prevention science into practice, shaping NIDA’s and collaborating agencies’ research portfolios to align with that vision, and discerning effective, “real-world” strategies that have been instrumental in progressing toward realization of that vision.

Community, Culture, and Prevention Science Award

Velma McBride Murry, PhD
Velma McBride Murry, PhD

The Community, Culture, and Prevention Science Award is given for contributions to the field of prevention science in the area of community and culture.

This year, we are pleased to present the Community, Culture, and Prevention Science Award to Dr. Velma McBride Murry who is the Lois Autrey Betts Chair in Education and Human Development and Professor, Human and Organizational Development in Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. Throughout Dr. Murry’s career she made major contributions to prevention in African American communities, experimentally studying the promotive role of family processes as rural African American families navigate issues of racism, adversity, and context. Dr. Murry is known as the developer of one of the premier parent training prevention programs for rural African American families. The Strong African American Families program has demonstrated significant reduction in delaying sexual onset and initiation of alcohol and drug use. The program is now widely disseminated, and Dr. Murry continues to conduct groundbreaking research on how best to deliver this intervention through African American churches, through urban school systems, and through the use of technology.

Her research contributions are many. Over the last 10 years, for example, she has published more than 60 publications in leading peer reviewed journals. She has directed or co-directed more than 25 research grants. In addition to this important prevention work, Dr. Murry is renowned for her contributions to formative research which lays the foundation for a better understanding of mechanisms to target to improve the lives of children and their families. Further, she never hesitates to include early career investigators in these publications. She believes this is the way to make a lasting impact on the field, insuring a greater understanding of the cultural processes in play for families of diverse backgrounds and promoting more culturally relevant interventions with a greater potential to reduce the disparities confronting communities on a routine basis.

She has also led the NIMH funded African American Mental Health Research Scientist Consortium (AAMHRS), which fostered the development of African American researchers’ careers by having them successfully compete for NIMH research funding. She brought together expert mentors from around the country to support this multi-year training program. These AAMHRS fellows were successful in receiving NIH funding for innovative programs that are delivered to communities of color. Dr. Murry is truly dedicated to developing the careers of early investigators, as many of her former mentees will attest. She recently won the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Trust Award, a national competition recognizing the best mentoring of a behavioral scientist.

Dr. Murry has been involved in many research projects and policy setting organizations. She is the co-director of the Community Engaged Research Core in Vanderbilt’s Clinical Translation Science Award (CTSA) program. Prior to her coming to Vanderbilt she held the rank of Professor at the University of Georgia’s Department of Child and Family Development. She continues to serve on the Institute of Medicine’s Board of Children, Youth and Families, chaired the American Psychology Association’s Committee on AIDS, and continues to serve on a USAID Evidence Summit Committee on Enhancing Child Survival and Development in Lower and Middle Income Countries.

Prevention Science Award

Brenna H. Bry, PhD
Brenna H. Bry, PhD

The Prevention Science Award is given for the work of developing and testing prevention strategies.

This year, we are pleased to present the Prevention Science Award to Dr. Brenna H. Bry whose career represents a model in prevention science. Dr. Bry’s systematic program of prevention research has included studies that: 1) search for precursors that differentiate adolescents who will develop conduct or substance use problems from those who will not and environmental factors that might reduce or buffer those precursors; 2) investigate whether these factors actually precede or reduce future problems; and 3) test the outcome efficacy and effectiveness of experimental methods to modify these factors. The results from each of her efficacy or effectiveness studies raised questions about how the intervention might be improved and, thus, she continuously worked to improve her interventions.

Early in her clinical psychology career, Dr. Bry supplemented her college counseling work with as many preventive interventions as she could try. Given her penchant for preventing problems among those at higher risk and her scientist-practitioner values, Bry left her college counseling position to work full time developing a generalizable substance abuse prevention program in both a suburban and urban middle school and evaluating its outcome in a randomized control trial (RCT). The progressive steps that she took in developing her preventive intervention were recognized when the U.S. Department of Education included her program on the first list of “effective” Safe and Drug-free Programs. Although Dr. Bry had called the program the “Early Secondary Intervention Program,” the Department of Education renamed it the “Behavioral Monitoring and Reinforcement Program (BMRP). BMRP is a group-based, school-based, psychological intervention that has been shown through longitudinal RCT to significantly reduce criminal behavior, school failure, and arrests among adolescents at risk for school drop-out. Every year since 1973, BMRP has been provided to students in New Jersey and other states and is recognized as an “evidence-based” intervention by the Blueprints Program at the University of Colorado.

During the 1990’s an individually-based version of BMRP, called the “Achievement Mentoring Program” (AMP), was developed in Rochester, NY high schools because school personnel found it more feasible to provide the program to high-risk students individually instead of in groups. AMP has been adopted in several schools in the U.S. and Ireland. Three RCTs plus one quasi-experimental trial have demonstrated it is effective in reducing school failure, school drop-out and behavioral problems. Dr. Bry will submit these results to the Blueprints Program to establish AMP as an “evidence based” intervention. Overall, Dr. Bry’s innovations have contributed to the current research, implementation, and dissemination standards in the field of prevention science. She was among the first researchers to investigate whether the number of risk factors, as opposed to a specific factor, increased risk for substance use problems. She counted risk factors to identify youth who had a statistically higher chance of abusing drugs and targeted those same risk factors in her prevention programs. Her hypothesis was that reducing the risk factors would decrease that probability of developing problems and her outcome studies supported that hypothesis. In her evaluations, she always compared program effects would have happened without a program and never stopped examining outcomes when a program ended. Her longitudinally-designed RCTs have shown repeatedly that the positive effects of prevention programs often take the form of significantly decreasing a downward trajectory, which would not be detected without a randomly assigned control group. Her results have also shown that these positive effects may not appear until a year or more after the active phase of a prevention program is completed. Dr. Bry also originated the application of booster sessions after the active phase of a prevention program is completed to maintain positive effects longer.

Presently, Dr. Bry is also engaged in developing methods for long-distance dissemination of BMRP and AMP. She and her colleagues have recently revised the training methods, materials, fidelity measurements, competency measures, and data collection procedures for disseminating and certifying the implementation of these programs to improve trainees’ competence and increase program fidelity. They are now planning to assess the extent to which these revisions result in competent program adoption and maintenance in school and community settings.

While conducting research, training, and providing on-going support for program dissemination, Dr. Bry has been mentoring doctoral students in prevention science. She has introduced many of her doctoral students to SPR. With them and colleagues, she has presented results from multiple studies at SPR meetings. The majority of her doctoral student co-authors have been U.S. minority group members who shared her interest in prevention science because they agree with her that too many members of U.S. minority groups will not seek mental health or substance abuse services, even after problems develop. Therefore, she has taught her students that if one wants to reduce problem prevalence, one must reach out to these populations with prevention programming.

Translational Science Award

Brian K. Bumbarger, MEd
Brian K. Bumbarger, MEd

The Translational Science Award recognizes contributions to the field of prevention science in the area of Type I or Type 2 translational research.

This year, we are pleased to present the Translational Science Award to Mr. Brian Bumbarger. During the past decade, Mr. Bumbarger has shown an exemplary level of scholarly accomplishment in Type 2 translational research. During that time he created and directed the EPIS Center (Evidenced- Based Prevention and Intervention Support Center) which is a part of the larger Prevention Research Center at The Pennsylvania State University. There is little question that he is unparalleled in his ability to achieve the highest level of accomplishment through the integration of his scholarly ideas and translational research opportunities.

Mr. Bumbarger has focused his career on the interface between research and practice in the areas of the prevention of delinquency, substance abuse, and other problem behaviors and the promotion of positive youth development. He has the uncommon ability to translate basic research findings into information that is accessible and usable to policy makers and community leaders as well as to translate practice context data into scholarly research. Mr. Bumbarger is clearly recognized both locally, nationally and internationally as a leader in helping communities and government to create policies and programs to promote effective prevention services.

Mr. Bumbarger has had a strong and consistent scholarly output. He has written a series of important scholarly research and policy-oriented papers that have been instrumental in helping communities improve the lives of family and youth. In addition, during the past few years, Mr. Bumbarger has led the creation of reports to the Pennsylvania Legislature on the effectiveness of prevention programming and these cost-benefits. These reports have detailed the savings to Pennsylvania from their prevention efforts and show an almost 300 million dollars saving from a 60 million dollar expenditure. These reports have been widely cited nationwide and he has given testimony to the US Congress as well as providing consultation on legislation to improve policies and programs for youth in other countries (including Ireland, Cyprus, and Sweden). He has consulted regularly with SAMSHA, NIDA, and House and Senate legislative committees.

Finally, though his vision and extraordinary activity, Mr. Bumbarger has created and now directs the Evidence-based Prevention and Intervention Support Center (EPIS Center). The EPIS Center, a new unit of the Prevention Research Center, was created in 2008. The goal of EPIS is to promote the evidence-based prevention and intervention programs throughout Pennsylvania. EPIS has a pioneering technical assistance model to advance high quality implementation, outcomes, and sustainability of Pennsylvania’s initiatives in prevention for youth. EPIS is funded by multiple PA agencies and has provided Mr. Bumbarger and collaborating faculty
with new opportunities to apply outreach scholarship to problems in substance use, mental health and education. The development of the EPIS Center is an amazing achievement in integrating science and practice and is now providing exciting outreach research opportunities that have further advanced this work. Mr. Bumbarger’s research is solid, important, and influential. His ability to develop long-term research collaborations with communities, governments, and foundations is a model for scientists who strive to do high quality translational science.

Public Service Award

Stacie Mathewson
Stacie Mathewson
Gary Mendell
Gary Mendell

The Public Service Award is given in recognition of extensive and effective advocacy for prevention science and research-based programs.

This year, we are pleased to present the Public Service Award to Ms. Stacie Mathewson and Mr. Gary Mendell. Gary Mendell and Stacie Mathewson have both turned deeply personal family tragedies into significant national initiatives to impact local, state, and federal policy and bring the latest prevention research to bear on the problems of substance use and addiction.

For more than 10 years, Gary Mendell sought the right treatments and medical care for his son, Brian, who struggled with the disease of addiction. As the disease advanced they were distraught by the lack of readily available research and resources for families like theirs. Through it all, Brian, loving and compassionate, wished nobody had to suffer from this devastating disease and feel so alone, ashamed, helpless, and in such tremendous pain. Tragically in October of 2011, Brian took his life. He was 25 years old and 13 months clean. In the months that followed, inspired by the compassion of his beloved late son, Mendell left his career as a business executive – a role he had held for more than 25 years – and set out to learn what could be done to prevent others from experiencing the heartbreaking loss and destruction of this insidious disease. He met with leading experts in addiction and discovered a huge gap in patient advocacy. Unlike other leading diseases, addiction had no national organization to help families navigate treatment, put research into practice, and advocate for public policy changes. Heartbroken but committed, Mendell realized that while he had to accept the reality and finality of his son’s death, he could not rest until he attempted to change the things he knew could be done. Making a promise to his beloved late son, Mendell founded Shatterproof (originally known as Brian’s Wish) with a personal commitment of $5 million and the goal of transforming the way addiction is prevented and treated, as well as ending the stigma associated with it.

In 2012, Mr. Mendell founded Shatterproof with the promise to spare other families the anguish of this disease. Shatterproof pursues research that helps determine which prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and strategies are most effective. This focus on innovative programs that are also evidence-based is a central tenet of Shatterproof’s organizational plan. The organization works to identify and develop such programs — and then continually test, innovate, and improve them. Shatterproof works to implement programs across the nation to reach the key influencers surrounding adolescents, including health care providers, parents, schools, and peers.

Shatterproof is building a national movement to decisively tackle the disease of addiction to alcohol and other drugs and bridge the enormous gap in addiction resources, focusing its efforts around four strategic pillars: unite and empower all Americans to fight this disease; educate the public about the disease to end the stigma; advocate for change in public policy to bring down barriers to effective prevention, treatment, and recovery; and fund research to identify and put into practice evidence-based programs and strategies.

Shatterproof’s vision is an America transformed … an America where parents possess critical resources and information early on to protect their children from the clutches of addiction, where leading academic research is applied in the real-world, where addiction is treated like a chronic disease – not a choice, and where families struggling with the disease of addiction no longer face discrimination and judgment, but instead are treated with compassion and given the resources they need to heal.

Like Gary Mendell, Stacie Mathewson has also turned personal tragedy at the hands of addiction into a significant national effort to improve prevention science, practice and policy.

As Executive Director of The Stacie Mathewson Foundation, Ms. Mathewson is focused exclusively on promoting addiction awareness, recovery, prevention and education at the local, state and national level. Ms. Mathewson is not only professionally, but also personally connected to the cause, witnessing since childhood how addiction disease can tear families apart and span generations. With the loss of a son who first faced addiction disease in his early adolescence, Ms. Mathewson’s commitment to preventing addiction and protecting the health of our youth is unrelenting.

The Stacie Mathewson Foundation, founded in 2011, is focused on addiction recovery and prevention for young people; and is committed to erasing the social stigma associated with substance use disorders. Presently, the Foundation is acting on the call for the expansion of community-based recovery support models to extend the continuum of care into schools and colleges. This is being undertaken through a capacity-building approach that supports local coalitions as they mobilize their community-based assets to help youth. To date, the nonprofit 501(c)3 organization has helped to fight the nation’s fastest-growing epidemic by educating lawmakers, building awareness and funding community capacity-building efforts for youth and young adults.

The Foundation directly supports a program for students at The University of Nevada, Reno—Nevada’s Recovery & Prevention Community (N-RAP)—helping to provide the student population of 18,000 with counseling services, peer-to-peer emotional and academic support, on-and-off campus sober living accommodation and access to substance-free extracurricular activities. N-RAP has reached out to expand their program to TMCC, UNLV and CSN.

In 2013 the Foundation created the non-profit charity, Transforming Youth Recovery. Transforming Youth Recovery is looking specifically at the educational, peer and family networks that influence youth development and achievement, and studying and conceiving novel approaches that could dramatically expand school-based services. For TYR, the key is to mobilize localized community assets into relevant practices and coalitions.  To help remove barriers to local action, TYR advocates for reforms in public policy, works to erase the social stigma associated with addiction and fund studies aimed at uncovering and promoting best practices.

The specific areas of focus for Transforming Youth Recovery are higher education; community colleges; high schools; life skills initiatives; family Education, K-8th grade prevention and intervention. In each of these focus areas, Transforming Youth Recovery adds key resources from the private sector to the efforts of government and the educational system with the goal of accelerating the rate of change in how we deal with substance abuse and addiction in the United States.

International Collaborative Prevention Research Award

Lisa Wegner, PhD
Lisa Wegner, PhD

The International Collaborative Prevention Research Award recognizes contributions to the field of prevention science in the area of international collaboration.

This year, we are pleased to present the International Collaborative Prevention Research Award to Dr. Lisa Wegner, Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa Simply put, without Dr. Wegner’s collaboration, the Penn State team’s efficacy study (HealthWise 1: 2004-09) and implementation fidelity study (HealthWise 2: 2010-15)  would not exist. The Penn State team’s collaboration began when Dr. Wegner and her colleague Dr. Tania Vergnani invited the Penn State team to work with them on developing the first prevention intervention for high school students in South Africa. The target outcomes were/are sexual risk and substance use and the approach is based on a positive youth development framework.

HealthWise is based on a curriculum the Penn State team had previously developed (TimeWise: Learning Lifelong Leisure Skills) as well as two other Western- based curricula on substance use and sexual risk. It was clear, however, that a direct importation of these curricula would not be appropriate in the mixed-race (colored) population that was being targeting. Dr. Wegner was instrumental in the process of cultural adaptation as well as bringing in her own ideas about appropriate content. With her background in occupational therapy, and in particular leisure boredom,  she provided significant intellectual leadership in the initial development of the curriculum. Furthermore, as part of the pilot study, she conducted a series of focus groups with the educators to gain their perspective about strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum. Through Dr. Wegner’s analysis and insights she guided the adaptation to make the curriculum even more salient to the educators and learners. Her work on the development of the curriculum and the pilot study/focus group study proved to be a critical piece in the evolution of HealthWise.

In addition to the intellectual heavy-lifting Wegner did during the initial developmental stages of HealthWise and during the conduct of the two larger studies, she also had remarkable political savvy which enabled a very strong collaborative relationship with the administration of the Metropole South Education Department (of the Western Cape), principals in the schools, and educators.

As the team has now moved on to its second large study that aims to identify factors that enhance implementation quality/fidelity of teaching HealthWise, Dr. Wegner continues to play a critical role, although she is no longer the on-site project director as she has returned to chair the Department of Occupational Therapy at UWC. As the team has transitioned into this next study that involves 56 schools, however, Dr. Wegner has remained an active team member and mentor to the new project director, Joachim Jacobs. Furthermore, over the past six months she has taken over the supervision of the video coding process, which provides the means of measuring the main variables of implementation quality. This is an enormously challenging task because the videos are from approximately 60 educators, but also because the coding is done in three languages: Xhosa, Afrikaans, and English (or a combination of those). Successful and rigorous coding of these videos is critical to the study in order to measure the main variables of the team’s study hypotheses.

In summary, Dr. Wegner is a consummate international collaborator as evident in the role she played in the development, evaluation, and sustainability of the HealthWise curriculum.

Service to SPR Award

Robert McMahon, PhD
Robert McMahon, PhD

The Service to SPR Award is given in recognition of outstanding service to the organization.

This year, we are pleased to present the Service to SPR Award to Dr. Robert McMahon for his service as Editor-in-Chief: Prevention Science. Dr. McMahon has made numerous contributions to the field of prevention science and to SPR – most directly through his leadership of Prevention Science. Dr. McMahon served as the second editor of the journal (from 2007 through December 2013). He has been incredibly professional in all aspects of his work with the journal and maintained a talented, dedicated, and interdisciplinary editorial board. He consistently had a strong commitment to increasing the visibility and rigor of the journal as a primary dissemination vehicle for SPR. During his tenure as editor, the journal’s reach and impact increased significantly, making it one of the premier journals within the field of prevention.

In addition to his numerous contributions to SPR through the journal, Dr. McMahon has exemplified the values and goals of SPR through his own research program. Originally trained as a clinical psychologist, he is a world-class prevention science researcher and has maintained an active research program throughout his career. He is a world-renown expert in family-focused interventions and parental monitoring. He has numerous collaborators and is a core member of the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group and the Tobacco Etiology Research Network; he has published approximately 200 journal articles. He has an international reputation and has given talks and collaborated with researchers across the globe. He has given dozens of presentations at the annual SPR meetings and has worked to advance the translational mission of SPR by leading workshops and applied seminars for various audiences of practitioners.

Friend of ECPN

Stephanie Lanza, PhD
Stephanie Lanza, PhD

The Friend of ECPN Award is presented to a mid-career or senior preventionist who has supported and encouraged early career prevention scientists or issues. The recipient of the Friend of ECPN Award will have been active in supporting early career activities, either by helping ECPN as an organization; promoting training, funding, or early career involvement in prevention efforts; or encouraging  early career preventionists in their work.

This year, we are pleased to present the Friend of ECPN Award to Dr. Stephanie Lanza. Dr. Lanza has served on over 12 dissertation committees and has officially mentored 4 pre-doctoral and 5 post-doctoral PAMT fellows over the past 10 years. Dr. Lanza is known for her approachability, generosity, and skills as a mentor, and her passion and dedication for supporting the professional development of early career prevention scientists. Dr. Lanza is an active, dedicated member of the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) and a leader in the fields of prevention science and methodology. She has made concerted efforts to support young scientists in becoming the same. Within SPR, this is illustrated by the numerous presentations/posters she has co-authored with young scientists at the annual conference, through her participation on ECPN-sponsored panels, and her mentorship of the Penn State SPR Cup team. Since its inception, Penn State has sponsored a team in nearly every SPR Cup competition and several of these teams have gone on to win the Cup. Dr. Lanza has been integral in Penn State’s success by providing mentorship and support to the teams as they developed their projects and cheering them on at their SPR presentations.

What is not reflected in these counts are the invaluable and long-lasting contributions she has made to the individual careers and lives of the young scientists who have had the privilege of working with her. Dr. Lanza goes well beyond the “call of duty” to generously offer her time, energy, and thoughtful advice and feedback on statistical analyses, publications, grant proposals and more. It is clear that Dr. Lanza views her mentees as valuable colleagues and treats them as such. She understands what young scientists need to succeed as both independent and collaborative researchers and therefore strikes an important balance between offering support and promoting her mentee’s independence. Evidence of this approach can be seen in the significant number of publications she has co-authored with young scientists and the grants her mentees have successfully attained in part due to her mentorship.

Importantly, the impact of her mentorship extends well beyond the direct, one-on-one interactions with undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral and junior faculty at Penn State. Dr. Lanza has the unique ability to make complex, sophisticated methodological techniques accessible to prevention scientists at all levels. She does this through a variety of arenas including: statistical workshops like the nationally-regarded and highly attended annual Summer Institute in Innovative Methods at Penn.

Dr. Lanza’s commitment and passion for mentoring shines through in everything she does.

ECPN John B. Reid Early Career Award

Donna Coffman, PhD
Donna Coffman, PhD

The ECPN John B. Reid Early Career Award is presented to a person early in their career in prevention. This award is bestowed on someone who has shown a commitment to prevention science through outstanding contributions to research, policy or practice.

This year, we are pleased to present the ECPN John B. Reid Early Career Award to Dr. Donna Coffman. Although it has been fewer than 10 years since Dr. Coffman received her PhD (in 2005), she has already made a lasting mark on the field of prevention science. Dr. Coffman is a productive scholar with over 31 publications in refereed journals. She has 30 publications since she received her Ph.D. in 2005 for about 4 publications per year–an impressive rate of productivity. Her publications are in the most competitive journals including methods journals such as Psychological Methods and Multivariate Behavioral Research and also in substantive journals including Prevention Science and Nursing Research. Her publications in Prevention Science include methods article such describing how to assess causal effects with latent class models (Butera et al., 2013), causal effects of parenting on youth risk behavior (Lippold et al., in press), and causal effects of interventions (Coffman et al., 2012). Substantive topics of her papers published in Prevention Science include implementation of prevention programming (Crowley et al., 2013), reasons for drinking alcohol (Coffman et al., 2007) and effects of a condom promotion program (Coffman et al., 2011). Her 7 papers in Prevention Science make her one of the most prolific authors in the journal. Many of Dr. Coffman’s articles combine state-of-the-art methods and important substantive research topics. As a result, Dr. Coffman has the unique role of bridging advanced methodology and modern prevention science.

Dr. Coffman is advancing prevention research in the area of mediation analysis methods. She developed methods for causal mediation analysis as part of a R03 entitled, “Causal Inference for Mediation Models in Substance Abuse Research” funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Mediation is important for prevention research because most programs are designed to change mediating variables that are hypothesized to cause the outcome of interest. If the program changes the mediating process and the causal relation between the mediator and the outcome is correct, then a program that changes the mediator will change the outcome. One problem with mediation analysis is that there can be variables that confound mediation relations, or make it unclear whether the correct mediator has been identified. Dr. Coffman developed and applied a weighting method to adjust for confounders of mediation relations in her important 2011 paper (Coffman, 2011). Dr. Coffman described modern methods to adjust for confounders in moderation and mediation relations in her 2012 article published in Psychological Methods (Coffman & Zhong, 2012). It is important to also note that Dr. Coffman does not just develop these methods but she also applies them to answer important mediation questions of HIV interventions, diet interventions and drug interventions.

Dr. Coffman also excels in grantsmanship, teaching, and service. She has served as a Co- Investigator on five ongoing projects and is project director for Prevention and Treatment methodology at the prestigious Pennsylvania State University Methodology Center. She has been a Principal Investigator on one grant, and Co-Investigator on 5 grants that have been completed. She has given many workshops and invited presentations and numerous presentations at conferences including yearly presentations at the Society for Prevention Research conference.