SCOPE Thought Piece, Question #7: Would you recommend a centralized prevention office or function for schools and college campuses? If so, what would an ideal centralized prevention function look like in your view?

Alan Berkowitz, Ph.D.

Prevention efforts should be coordinated within and across issues, but this need not take the form of a “centralized prevention office.”  What is important is that different parties sit at the table together to coordinate their efforts, to reduce competition, ensure compatibility of messages and practices, and to foster efficient use of resources. On many campuses and in schools this can take the form of a task-force or planning committee that reviews and coordinates different efforts to ensure that they are consistent, mutually-reinforcing, and well-planned – an effort that must have the support and empowerment of upper-level administrators.  Whether or not this is done through a centralized office or through other forms of collaboration is an institution-specific issue.  If such an office is created the process should be one that fosters collaboration and a common vision of prevention.  If not, the work of the office will be compromised.  Effective collaboration can take place with or without such an office and having such an office is no guarantee that the necessary collaboration and coordination will occur.

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