SCOPE Thought Piece, Question #5: What are the foundational concepts of primary prevention that apply across communities?

Beth DeRicco, Ph.D.

Foundational concepts include:

  • Readiness;
  • Social ecological model (comprehensive approach);
  • Strategic planning;
  • Policy development, implementation, evaluation and revision;
  • Management/Leadership skills.

The question here is for whom?  The day-to-day practitioner with their feet on the ground needs a different set of skills and foundations than a manager does – for example, if they are working with kids, do they understand child development processes, how change occurs in behavioral health, how to engage caregivers and how to overcome environmental obstacles?  Managers need some of this information and these skills, as well as grant and funding development and management, supervision, policy analysis and implementation, etc. And a true leader needs the ability to understand change theory, adult learning theory, supervision, etc.  A critical concept that is difficult to teach is how one can attach their priorities appropriately and persuasively to the priorities of funders, key stakeholders and the political elite in any given community or organization.  All need to understand how to read, understand and utilize data in a way that is appropriate to their situation, context and audience.

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