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Assessment

"The SPF Process" by Center on the Family. All rights reserved.

Assessment

When trying to address problems in our communities, it is important that we begin by attempting to get a full understanding of the problem. If we start to design solutions without this full understanding, then we run the risk of missing something important or developing ineffective strategies for change. In the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) model, this first step, in which communities attempt to fully understand a target problem, is called "assessment" or "needs assessment."

During this stage, staff and community members systematically gather information about the target problem. For instance, it is good to try to understand how many people in the community experience the problem, what factors might indicate a higher risk for developing the problem, and whether the problem is a symptom of some larger issue that also needs to be addressed.

Other things that are important to consider when trying to understand community problems are:

  • Frequency: How often does the problem occur?
  • Duration: How long has the problem lasted?
  • Scope: How widespread is the problem?
  • Severity: How much does the problem impact the functioning of individuals, families, and communities?
  • Equity: Does the problem impact some groups more than others? Does it represent an issue of inequality or injustice in a community?
  • Perception: Does the community see the issue as a problem? Do the different parts of a community agree on the definition of the problem?

In addition to gathering information about the magnitude of the problem and its potential causes, a needs assessment also attempts to gather information about how a community might be able to best address the problem. What tools already exist in the community and how might they be used to address the issue? What additional tools are needed to address the problem? Who should to be included in a collaboration to address the problem?

Often social problems, such as substance abuse, are very complicated issues to address because they are influenced by so many different factors. These factors include individual choices and behaviors, family interactions, school and peer influences, community norms and practices, and public laws and policies (among others). Because these problems impact whole communities and because whole communities can have an impact on these problems, it is often important for many different sectors within a community to collaborate together in their attempts to address the problem.

Exploring about how a community perceives the problem is, therefore, often very important. The SPF process emphasizes the need for the community as a whole to engage in the systematic assessment process. This means bringing together researchers, policymakers, program providers, and community members to collaborate together in order to gather information about the problem. In this way a community can develop a shared definition of the problem, a unified understanding of the important factors that impact the problem, and can then develop a comprehensive plan to address the problem as a team.

Tools

 

References

Berkowitz, B. (2013). Chapter 3. Section 5: Analyzing Community Problems. Retrieved from The Community Tool Box: http://ctb.ku.edu/en/tablecontents/section_1017.htm
 
Dorn, H. (1951). Methods of measuring incidence and prevalence of disease. American Journal of Public Health, 41, 271-78.
 
SAMHSA. (2015, October 1). Criteria for analyzing assessment data. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/capt/tools-learning-resources/criteria-analyzing-assessment-data
 
SAMHSA. (2015, September 29). Step 1: Assess needs. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/capt/applying-strategic-prevention-framework/step1-assess-needs
 
Sheppard, K., and Langevin, D. (2003). A framework for understand ‘evidence’ in preventions research and programs. Prevention Science, 4(3), 137-153.

September 2021

Sep 08 Wed
Enhancing Your Prevention Communication Strategies Through Traditional Media and Social Media

Learning Objectives:

  • Define social marketing, social norms marketing, and media advocacy
  • Identify how the goals and focus audiences differ for social marketing, social norms marketing, and media advocacy
  • List the steps necessary to implement social marketing, social norms marketing, and media advocacy
  • Identify when social media can be used to augment their substance misuse prevention work
  • Select the appropriate social media platform(s) for their focus audience(s)
  • Apply best practices for creating social media posts
  • Identify appropriate use of social media when implementing social marketing campaigns, social norms marketing campaigns, and media advocacy strategies
Location

Zoom

Sep 14 Tue
Ethics in Prevention for Maui County Providers

This free, two-day virtual training will cover the topic of ethics in the substance misuse prevention field.  The training will cover key terminology, the six principles in the Prevention Code of Ethics, and a decision-making process to use when faced with an ethical dilemma.  

Location

Zoom

Sep 14 Tue
Community Engagement Webinars (Two-Session)

Learning Objectives:

  • Explore a framework for community participation in prevention
  • Identify who you want to engage in which prevention efforts
  • Brainstorm ways to engage them during COVID-19 restrictions
  • Develop your community engagement plan
Location

Zoom

Sep 17 Fri
Sustainability 101: Sustaining Your Work for the Long-Haul!

Organizations are continuously faced with the day-to-day challenges of running programs and its operations. This often makes it difficult for organizations to make time to develop sustainability plans that take a broader perspective on ways to continue the work into the future. This training will explore ways for programs, coalitions, and organizations to understand sustainability, and begin developing a plan that sustains the work and the organization. We'll discuss key elements of sustainability, and participants will have an opportunity to collaborate with other professionals, and take initial steps to begin developing a sustainability plan for their program, organization, or coalition.

Location

Zoom

Sep 17 Fri
Maui County's September Network Meeting

This is a casual event to provide an opportunity for prevention providers and stakeholders to network and collaborate, discuss training and news updates, and share prevention-related information with each other.

There will be sharing and discussion on updates from organizations and prevention programs, and discussion of any relevant news, opportunities for collaboration, or other relevant prevention-related information.

Other resources and trainings needed will be discussed.

Location

Zoom

Sep 17 Fri
Partnerships for Success: Evidence-Based Workgroup Meeting

2021 Evidence-Based Workgroup Meeting

Location

Zoom

Sep 24 Fri
Evaluation 101: The Whys, Whats, and Hows to Evaluating Your Program

This training will explore the basic concepts of evaluation and will teach attendees how to utilize Excel to assist in program evaluation.

Location

Zoom

Sep 29 Wed
Prevention Ethics

The participants will learn the role and application of ethics in substance abuse prevention. Using scenarios and interactive activities, participants will explore the six standards in the Prevention Code of Ethics.

 

 

Location

Zoom