SPR NEWS (2) 2003

SPR News 2 – June 4, 2003

Dear SPR Member:

The second issue of “SPR News” includes information on the following:

  • Final Stages of Planning SPR’s Annual Conference
  • New Leadership at NIDA and CSAP
  • SPR Participation in Meeting on Global Prevention Efforts
  • Standards of Evidence Committee
  • SPR Hires PR Firm for Multiple Problems of Youth Project


SPR’s 11th annual conference, with a theme of “Research to Policy,” is only days away. According to Zili Sloboda, the chair of this year’s conference planning committee, we are in the final stages of planning this year’s conference in anticipation of over 500 conference attendees. The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Washington on June 12 to 14. Several preconference workshops will be held on June 11 including “The ABC’s of Effective Legislative and Media Advocacy,” “Economic Research as a Policy Tool: Considerations for the Application of Cost/Effective Analysis and Cost/Benefit Analysis,” “Systematic Reviews in Social Science and the Campbell Collaboration,” and “Evaluations: Sound Methods on Small Budgets.”


Both NIDA and CSAP have named new directors. Dr. Nora D. Volkow is NIDA’s new director. Prior to joining NIDA, Volkow was Associate Director for Life Sciences at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Director of Nuclear Medicine at BNL, and Director of the NIDA-DOE Regional Neuroimaging Center at BNL. She was also Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, SUNY-Stony Brook, and Associate Dean for the Medical School at SUNY-Stony Brook. Beverly Watts-Davis has been selected as CSAP’s new director. Prior to joining SAMHSA, Watts Davis was the Senior Vice President of United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, as well as Executive Director of its San Antonio Fighting Back Anti-Drug Community Coalition. She has extensive experience with managing and administrating multi-site community grant programs and early intervention projects targeted to children and adolescents, ethnic minorities, pregnant and postpartum women, and ex-prisoners re-entering society.


In March, Gil Botvin (SPR’s President), David Hawkins (SPR’s President-elect), and Jennifer Lewis (SPR’s Administrative Director), met with Mr. Charlie Curie (the administrator of SAMHSA) and his senior staff to discuss opportunities for working together with SPR to promote Curie’s mission “science to service” through new federal initiatives. The meeting with SAMHSA’s administrator is part of SPR’s new strategic plan to foster the dissemination of evidence-based prevention approaches, dissemination research, and the development of community level monitoring systems for charting both the use and impact of evidence-based prevention programs and policies. Similar meetings with other senior federal leaders are being planned to promote closer collaboration between SPR and key government agencies with an interest in prevention.


Gil Botvin and Jennifer Lewis represented SPR at a recent international meeting on prevention in DC that was intended to facilitate greater international collaboration in the interest of evidenced-based promotion of mental health and prevention of mental and behavioral disorders on a global scale. The meeting was chaired by Clemens Hosman and Beverly Long under the aegis of the World Federation for Mental Health and SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. Both Clemens and Bev have also been active members of SPR’s board. Each organization invited to attend the meeting did a brief presentation describing their organization and its mission as well as any current or planned international activities. Several other members of SPR also attended the meeting including Juan Ramos, Doreen Koretz, and Sheppard Kellam (SPR’s Immediate Past President).


In recent years, as an increasing number of prevention approaches have been demonstrated to be effective in well-designed studies, there has been a corresponding interest in helping educators, practitioners, and policymakers identify effective programs and policies. However, the proliferation of “lists” of effective, exemplary, model, or promising programs has brought with it some degree of confusion since different lists appear to have used different standards of evidence. A key role for SPR is to help define appropriate standards of evidence, both to assist the consumers of these lists in interpreting them and to further improve the quality of prevention science. Toward that end, SPR recently formed an ad hoc “standards of evidence” committee. The new committee will be chaired by Brian Flay (University of Illinois in Chicago). Other members of the committee include Steven Schinke (Columbia University) who has been actively involved with CSAP’s National Registry of Effective Programs (NREP), Tony Biglan (Oregon Research Institute), Robert Boruch (University of Pennsylvania), Felipe Gonzalez Castro (Arizona State University), Denise Gottfredson (University of Maryland), and Sheppard Kellam (American Institutes of Research and Johns Hopkins University).


SPR recently hired Prabhu Ponkshe of Health Matrix, Inc. to assist with SPR’s project concerning the multiple problems of youth. Tony Biglan (Oregon Research Institute) is the PI on the project, which is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the National Institutes of Health that is coordinated through the National Science Foundation. Ponkshe’s background is in the area of scientific and policy communications. He was an editor/reporter for a Reuters affiliated news agency, directed the public relations office of the national center of the American Heart Association, consulted with CDC, NIH and other government agencies on health communications projects, and most recently with two major programs from RWJF. Ponkshe has prepared a three-year communications strategy for SPR. Among the communications strategy goals, as they relate to the multiple problems of youth, are positioning SPR and its leadership as a regular, reliable and unique source of scientifically credible information for the media, policy makers, health professionals, and other influential audiences on prevention science and research, and positioning SPR’s annual conference as an emerging public and professional education opportunity to disseminate information research to scientists, research organizations and institutions, young investigators, and media and policy makers.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at gjbotvin@med.cornell.edu or Jennifer Lewis at jenniferlewis@preventionresearch.org if you have any questions or comments about SPR activities.

I look forward to seeing you at the annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
Gil Botvin, Ph.D.
President, SPR

Visit the SPR website at www.preventionresearch.org