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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.

April 2021

Apr 07 Wed
Sexual Assault Awareness Training Series

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is a reminder that sexual violence is widespread and affects all of us in some way. Its prevention requires a community response. Gain valuable information on how together we can keep our community safe. 

Location

Zoom

Apr 16 Fri
ADAD Zoom Training: Time Perspective Therapy

This training will provide an overview of Time Perspective Therapy (TPT) and how it can be helpful in engaging clients in therapy, moving past trauma and the psychology behind time.

Objectives:

  • History of TPT - Phillip Zimbardo
  • What we do with our time and what this says about ourselves
  • Introduction to the 6 main time zones
  • Role of culture
  • Activities to explore what our time perspectives are
  • The role of Trauma
  • Growth vs Fixed Mindset
Location

Zoom

Apr 23 Fri
ADAD Zoom Training: Opiod Overdose Prevention & Response

Overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in Hawaii and around the U.S.  This interactive session will explore the impact of opioids on the body and identify the risks for accidental opioid overdose. Participants will be certified to administer Naloxone, the opioid antagonist. 

Location

Zoom