In collaboration with Dr. Richard Spoth and his colleagues at Iowa State University, the Center has developed the PROSPER Project. PROSPER stands for PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience. The goal of PROSPER is to utilize the combined efforts of prevention scientists, the Cooperative Extension system, and local schools and community leaders to develop community partnerships that strengthen families and help young people avoid substance abuse and behavioral problems. The first five-years of the PROSPER project involves about 10,000 youth in 28 communities throughout Pennsylvania and Iowa. Penn State's portion of PROSPER includes an award of $9.9 million from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The PROSPER project promotes the development of sustainable partnerships among schools, communities and universities, in order to facilitate the delivery of evidence-based interventions designed to reduce adolescent substance use and problem behaviors and to promote youth competence. The need for PROSPER is clearly indicated by the alarming prevalence of youth substance use and related problems in both rural and urban areas. In response, numerous programs and practices intended to prevent youth substance use have been developed and widely disseminated. However, few of these programs have been carefully evaluated, and fewer still have been shown to be effective. PROSPER creates and strengthens linkages between the two existing systems for the delivery of preventive interventions with universal reach in the U.S., namely, the Cooperative Extension System and the public school system.
The PROSPER project supports the development of local partnership teams in seven Pennsylvania school districts. The teams-made up of school leaders, Cooperative Extension staff, parents, community leaders, students and health and social service providers-identify needs and offer evidence-based programs to improve the health and well-being of middle-school and high-school students. In seven other Pennsylvania school districts, local teams will receive technical assistance to implement similar programs following a three-year waiting period.
The first phase of PROSPER involves the development of school/community-university partnerships in selected communities in two states (Iowa and Pennsylvania). A randomized trial is evaluating the effectiveness of the model on a range of outcomes, including youth competencies and problem behavior reduction. Also, the relationship between partnership functioning and intervention outcomes is being examined. Using the first phase results as a guide, the second phase will entail (a) an expansion to additional sites in Iowa and Pennsylvania and, most importantly, (b) the gradual inclusion of an increasing number of states, as part of a national network of partnerships. Participating PRC and Penn State faculty involved in PROSPER include Mark Greenberg (PI), Karen Bierman (Co-PI), Mark Feinberg (Research Director), Janet Welsh (Intervention Director), and Daniel Perkins, Claudia Mincemoyer, and Marilyn Corbin from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Cooperative Extension.
YouTube Videos (posted 6/15/11)
[Chilenski, Greenberg, authors: PPT file]
[Chilenski, Feinberg, Greenberg, Osgood, authors: PPT file]