Skip to main content

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.

June 2021

Jun 02 Wed
ADAD Zoom Training: Substance Use Disorder Ethics

Description: Attendees will become familiar with:

  • Introductions and networking
  • Discussion of “need of know” and relevance to field work
  • 12 Ethical Principles of CSAC Code of Ethics

 

Location

Zoom

Jun 04 Fri
Hawaii Training: “Ice," Cannabis Use Disorder, and the Opioid Crisis

Description: Upon completion of the presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Identify at least three statistical findings that validate the current surge of opioid, stimulant, and marijuana abuse in the US;
  • List and describe natural brain neurotransmitters that are mimicked or disrupted by the abuse of external substances;
  • Discuss the symptoms of stimulant, opioid, and cannabis use disorder and provide at least four symptoms of their withdrawal syndromes; and
  • Name currently employed and developing treatment strategies for opioid, stimulant, and cannabis dependence.

 

 

Location

Zoom

Jun 09 Wed
ADAD Zoom Training: Addressing Tobacco in Substance Use Settings

Description: Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize the high rates of tobacco use in individuals with behavioral health issues, specifically substance users
  • Understand the medical, financial, occupational, and other consequences of tobacco use in individuals with addictions
  • Gain increased awareness about the need for integrated tobacco treatment within the behavioral health setting and the barriers which keep smokers with addictions from accessing tobacco treatment. (This can include staff who use tobacco or policies that allow for continued tobacco use in the treatment setting.)
  • Become familiar with tools for assessing tobacco use including carbon monoxide measurements, DSM criteria for tobacco use disorder and withdrawal syndromes, assessments of nicotine dependence and stages of change
  • Describe the rationale for treatment as effective methods for increasing the success of quit attempts

 

Location

Zoom

Jun 21 Mon
ADAD Zoom Training: Cyberbullying, Cyberstalking, Sexting and the Law

Upon completion of this workshop the clinician/staff/educators will have a clear understanding of:

  • All forms of CyberBullying, CyberStalking and the psychological impact on young people.
  • Sexting in context to teenagers and young adults in the 21st century and legal implications.
  • How parents, educators and clinicians can safeguard children, teenagers and young adults from Cyber-Abuse.
  • Medical, Psychological, Sociological and Behavioral impact on humans as a result of Cyber-Abuse.
Location

Zoom

Jun 25 Fri
ADAD Zoom Training: Working with Challenging Families

Description: This workshop is designed to incorporate the skills necessary to build better relationships with families who may be resistant or hesitant to services. Training will focus on assessing client strengths, reviewing various behavioral theories, approaches and techniques, and identifying strategies for addressing conflict in relationships.

Location

Zoom