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Call for Papers


Submission Deadline: Friday, October 30, 2015

Society for Prevention Research 24th Annual Meeting

Using Prevention Science to Promote

Health Equity and Improve Well-being

May 31 – June 3, 2016 │ Hyatt Regency San Francisco │ San Francisco, CA

Pre-Conference Workshops May 31, 2016


Submission deadline: Friday, October 30, 2015



Over the last 25 years, the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) has established itself as the leading scientific organization devoted to advancing prevention science to promote health and well-being. The cornerstone of SPR’s efforts is the Annual Meeting, where the prevention science community, including researchers, practitioners, advocates, administrators, and policy-makers, come together to discuss advances in prevention science and strategies to achieve this goal.

This year’s conference theme, “Using Prevention Science to Promote Health Equity and Improve Well-being,” offers the opportunity to consider ways in which the prevention science community can effectively contribute to reducing health disparities and achieve health equity across populations around the world. For example, in the United States, the 2010 Affordable Care Act created the National Prevention Council and called for the development of the National Prevention Strategy to realize the health benefits of prevention for all Americans. This and other federal health-care reform initiatives have provided an unprecedented opportunity to shift the nation from a focus on disease to one based on prevention and population-level health. However, around the globe, not all citizens have equal opportunities for health; certain populations bear a disproportionate burden of disease, morbidity, and mortality. Prevention science is uniquely positioned to inform science-based efforts to reduce inequality by implementing evidence-based strategies that strengthen individuals, families, schools, and communities and creating opportunities for improved quality of life for all. Consistent with the conference theme, we encourage submissions related to: 1) the root causes of inequality including racism and poverty, and how they influence social, behavioral, psychological, and physical health; 2) evidence-based approaches and policies to address health inequities; and 3) the economic benefits associated with promoting and achieving health equity. Studies on how prevention programs or policy implementation have played a role in improving health equity in other countries are encouraged. Topics focused within this year’s special theme can be directed at population who face a disproportionate burden related to morbidity, mortality, or decreased quality of life in a variety of settings (criminal justice, education, health care, employment, housing) and across the lifespan.

The SPR Program Committee invites submissions for the conference that fit within this broad theme as well as the related special themes described below. We will also consider proposals that focus on the core areas of interest to SPR, the general themes including research related to epidemiology and etiology, development and testing of interventions, implementation and dissemination strategies, innovative methods and statistics, and research, policy, and practice (see below). Submissions are encouraged from researchers and policy-makers at all stages of their career and from varied backgrounds including public health, education, social work, human services, criminal justice, medical and bio-behavioral sciences, developmental science, social science, and genetics.

Special Conference Themes

Each year, SPR selects special themes designed to highlight specific areas of research relevant to prevention scientists. These special themes guide the development of plenary sessions, symposia, and preconference workshops.

Promoting Health Equity Among Populations at Risk

Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health and well-being based on their racial or ethnic group, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, geography, mental health, disability or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion. Achieving health equity requires focused and ongoing efforts to address avoidable inequalities and historical and contemporary injustices. Proposals are encouraged that advance understanding of risk across populations and attempt to address disparities by targeting preventive interventions to the needs of vulnerable populations.

Enhancing Physical, Social, and Economic Environments to Improve Health Equity

The physical, social, and economic conditions that form the context for where individuals live, learn, work, and play are major determinants of their mental and physical health status. Social, economic, and environmental factors throughout the lifespan influence mental and physical well-being. Those who receive quality education, live in safe homes and neighborhoods with access to healthy food and space for physical activity, have adequate resources to be self-sufficient (e.g. living wage, food security, stable employment), and have access to high quality preventive services tend to be healthier throughout their lives and live longer. This subtheme acknowledges the growing science supporting the idea that prevention should be woven into all aspects of everyday life, including where and how we live, learn, work, play, and heal. Proposals are encouraged that focus on understanding environmental and other contextual factors that influence health equity, preventive interventions designed to enhance physical, social, and economic environments to address health disparities and policies that promote equity, health, and well-being.

Health Equity in HIV/AIDS Prevention

Over 35 million people are currently living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. In the U.S. alone, approximately 50,000 new infections each year contribute to the 1.2 million people estimated to be living with HIV. These prevalence and incidence rates are unacceptably high despite many scientific breakthroughs both domestically and internationally, and are disproportionately high among men who have sex with men, transgender persons, ethnic minorities, youth, and people who use drugs. Research on innovative HIV prevention strategies such as “combination” (i.e., behavioral, biomedical, and structural) preventive interventions and treatment and retention in care for primary and secondary prevention are highly encouraged, along with less explored areas such as social (e.g., family and dyadic), environmental and economic interventions. Novel approaches to the dissemination of evidence-based HIV preventive interventions are also consistent with this theme, as well as research concerning the determinants, processes, and cultural contextual issues influencing HIV-related risk and protective factors. Submissions on preventing HIV-related disparities and effective strategies that have emerged outside of the U.S. that can help inform domestic efforts are encouraged.

General Conference Themes: Advances across the Stages of the Prevention Research Cycle

Epidemiology and Etiology: Submissions under this theme are focused on describing the distribution and patterns of injury and disease (e.g., cancer, cardiovascular disease, substance use disorders, depression, and HIV/AIDS) as well as on identifying risk and protective targets of preventive interventions, especially those with a developmental and/or lifespan approach, or that include neurobiological, genetic, or contextual factors.

Development and Testing of Interventions: Prevention interventions can be tested for efficacy under conditions of high quality assurance and strong research designs (“proof of concept”) and tested for effectiveness under real world conditions in settings and systems. Submissions reporting the findings from efficacy or effectiveness trials (including pilot studies with preliminary outcome data) are welcomed, and those that combine the findings of such trials with one of the special conference themes are particularly encouraged.

Dissemination and Implementation Science: Dissemination, implementation, and operations research bridge the gap between research and everyday practice through a dynamic, transactional process between the public health community and researchers. Submissions under this theme should advance the scientific understanding of dissemination and implementation, including cost-efficient sustainability of preventive interventions into systems. Presentations that focus on program dissemination and implementation outcomes, improve dissemination and implementation processes, or identify individual, provider, organizational, and/or system levels factors that contribute to dissemination, implementation, and effectiveness are encouraged.

Innovative Methods and Statistics: “Cutting edge” studies and methodological analyses that address measurement, statistical, and design challenges to prevention science, including systems science approaches (e.g., computational modeling and simulation, network analysis, and engineering control methods) to conceptualize prevention at the micro- or macro-levels of analyses, are invited. Presentations should highlight the challenges related to prevention science that these innovative statistical methods can address and additional benefits gained by using these techniques. Consistent with this year’s conference theme, special consideration will be given to methodological issues around the study of health equity and health disparities. For more information on how “systems science” is defined, please visit the following website: http://obssr.od.nih.gov/scientific_areas/methodology/systems_science/index.aspx.

Research, Policy, and Practice: Decision makers around the world are emphasizing evidence-based policy reform. In the U.S., the federal administration supports rigorous evaluation of social interventions, use of preventive interventions that demonstrate strong evidence of effectiveness, and analysis of the financial benefits that offset or outweigh costs. There also are new policy initiatives at the state and national levels such as changes in the legal status of marijuana and new approaches to improving the educational system where evidence is needed to guide further policy change. This theme encourages submissions that evaluate or estimate the outcomes of planned, new or existing policies, the impact of efficacious programs in emerging policy contexts, as well as submissions that demonstrate how empirical research has been used to inform and guide new policies. In addition, research that describes and evaluates the processes by which policies have been formed, developed, and implemented are encouraged. A wide variety of content areas are welcomed, including emergent areas such as marijuana legalization (What are the consequences of legalization of adult cannabis use on youth cannabis use and related risk behaviors?), recurring areas of concern such as cancer screening or HIV antiretroviral therapy compliance (What are effective strategies for reaching high-priority populations?), education policy (What policies and practices contribute to the well documented racial disparities in exclusionary discipline and expulsion?), gun safety and obesity prevention (What is the impact of national and local laws and policies?), and bullying laws and policies. International research and/or comparative research across policy contexts are especially encouraged.

NIDA International SPR Poster Session

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is sponsoring an international poster session. Posters will highlight drug abuse prevention and/or drug-related HIV prevention research completed in international settings by international, domestic, and cross-nation teams of researchers. A separate call for submissions to this international poster session is issued.

All abstracts will be submitted on-line at www.preventionresearch.org.

Please contact Jennifer Lewis for questions at 703-934-4850, ext. 213 or jenniferlewis@preventionresearch.org.

 The abstract site will open September 11, 2015.

Deadline for Abstract Submission: October 30, 2015