A program-delivery system in which universities partner with community teams to implement evidence-based programs for preventing youth substance abuse and other problem behaviors.
Promoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER) is a program-delivery system in which universities partner with community teams to implement evidence-based programs for preventing youth substance abuse and other problem behaviors. Each participating community (i.e., town or small city) forms a community team of 8-12 people, which is led by a Cooperative Extension System representative1 and a public school representative, and includes social service and health agency officials as well as community parents and youth. A state-level team of university researchers then provides the community teams with a menu of evidence-based programs,2 from which the community teams select (i) one family-focused program to deliver in 6th grade, and (ii) one school-based program to deliver in 7th grade. A prevention coordinator team, based in the university Cooperative Extension System, serves as a liaison between the community and state-level teams, providing ongoing, proactive technical assistance to community teams to optimize program delivery and sustainability.
All PROSPER communities in the study described below selected the Strengthening Families Program: 10-14 for the family-focused program. This program, delivered to parents and youth in seven sessions, focuses on enhancing parenting skills as well as youth substance refusal and other pro-social skills. For the school-based program, six PROSPER communities selected All Stars, four communities selected LifeSkills Training, and four communities selected Project Alert. All three are substance-abuse prevention programs delivered to students in classrooms, generally by a regular classroom teacher trained in that program.3
The university research team updates PROSPER’s menu of evidence-based programs over time based on new research findings regarding both the listed programs and potential alternative programs.4
The cost of implementing PROSPER in a community of 25,000 people – roughly the average population in the study described below – ranges from $177,000 to $192,000 per year in 2017 dollars, and the cost per participating youth totals about $410-$440 over 6th and 7th grade (depending on which family and school-based programs the community selects). For a larger community of 50,000 people, the cost is $208,000 to $237,000 per year, and the cost per youth is about $240-$270.5
Link to PROSPER’s website.