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Membership Growth By Year
Past Officers


The original idea of forming an organization that would bring the multidisciplinary prevention research community together was incubated during the late 1980's and early 1990's in a series of discussions led by Zili Sloboda, Sc.D. among National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) administrative staff.

In the spring of 1991, Sloboda and fellow NIDA staff member Bill Bukoski, Ph.D. organized a meeting of NIDA-sponsored prevention research center directors andd staff in Pittsburgh.

"One of the primary goals of SPR is to create a scientific, multidisciplinary forum for prevention science, and a concerted effort is being made to invite investigators to join SPR whose research specialities are not represented in the current membership."

The 19 attendees decided to form the Society for Prevention Research (SPR), and later that year, the society was incorporated as a non-profit organization. During its first four years, the society focused on sponsoring professional research meetings on the etiology, epidemiology, and the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse. Ongoing and vigorous support from NIDA made these meetings possible, and Sloboda and Bukoski continued to play key roles in the organizational effort. Ralph Tarter, Ph.D., and his colleagues at the Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research (CEDAR) at the University of Pittsburgh provided central administrative support. Steve Schinke, Ph.D., and Dick Clayton, Ph.D. served as presidents during this period.

The first SPR conference was held in Ft. Collins and was organized by Gene Oetting, Ph.D. of the Triethnic Center at Colorado State University. The first official "annual" meeting was held the next year in Lexington and organized by Clayton and the Center for Prevention Research at the University of Kentucky. For several years following this meeting, SPR linked its meetings to the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) meetings, and met in West Palm Beach, Scottsdale, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Tarter served as chair of each of these meetings.

Joining Together

At the same time that SPR was forming, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) was also sponsoring national conferences on prevention research. Unlike the NIDA efforts, these conferences were not linked with the formation of a professional organization. Due to an administrative reorganization, NIMH chose not to sponsor a prevention conference in 1997. At this point, members of the NIMH conference planning committee and the SPR leadership discussed holding a joint conference under the SPR banner and independent of the CPDD meeting. The conference would incorporate multiple themes, including bio-behavioral mechanisms underlying drug and alcohol abuse, methodology for conducting preventive trials, cutting edge methodology for analyzing preventive trial outcomes, the causes and prevention of aggressive behavior, and early career researcher training.

Ultimately, this meeting was held in Baltimore and was chaired by Tarter. Numerous federal agencies provided financial support, including NIDA, the NIMH Office of Prevention, the NIMH Office of AIDS Research, the Center for Mental Health Services within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Following this groundbreaking meeting, efforts to broaden the focus of SPR accelerated. The SPR Board of Directors, under the guidance of Presidents Clayton and Karol Kumpfer, Ph.D., was expanded to include representatives of various constituencies, including members of the former NIMH prevention research conference planning committees. A representative of the Early Career Preventionists Network (ECPN), an internet-based group of researchers at the beginning of their prevention science careers, was also included.


Under the leadership of President Sheppard Kellam, M.D., interest in expanding the organization continued. Each year, attempts were made to broaden the scope of content areas represented in the annual meetings. Bukoski led the organization of the meetings in Park City and New Orleans, and J. Mark Eddy, Ph.D., chaired the first international meeting in Montreal. Through efforts by Oregon Social Learning Center staff, the web page was expanded, a listserv was established, and joint efforts on web publishing relevant to prevention were launched with the American Psychological Association and with the ECPN.

As the organization grew, new administrative structures were needed. A new constitution and bylaws were drafted and approved by the membership in 1999. The Board was expanded to include international representation. Elections were initiated. A variety of new committees were created. The first edition of the SPR flagship journal, Prevention Science (published by Kluwer/Plenum), was released in the spring of 2000, with Gil Botvin, Ph.D., as editor.

In 2001, under the leadership of President Botvin, SPR entered a new phase. The Society was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health to sponsor the SPR annual meeting. An office was opened in Washington, D.C. A new Administrative Director, Jennifer Lewis, was hired. A Management Committee was created and Denise Hallfors, Ph.D. was appointed as chair. A variety of committees increased their visibility, including the Advocacy Committee (chair, Tony Biglan, Ph.D.) and an international subcommittee of the Membership Committee (chair, Clemens Hosman, Ph.D., from the Netherlands).

Membership Growth by Year

1994 — 120
1995 — 193
1996 — 208
1997 — 162
1998 — 208
1999 — 282
2000 — 427
2001 — 475
2002 — 507
2003 — 635
2004 — 675
2005 — 690
2006 — 680
2007 — 707
2008 — 736
2009 — 747



Steven Schinke, Ph.D.
1993 - 1995
Ralph E. Tarter, Ph.D.
1993 - 2000
Richard Clayton, Ph.D.
1995 - 1997
Denise Hallfors, Ph.D.
2000 - 2003
Karol Kumpfer, Ph.D.
1997 - 1998
Deborah Gorman-Smith, Ph.D.
2003 - 2007
Richard Clayton, Ph.D.
(interim) 1998
Ron Prinz, Ph.D.
2007 - 2010
Sheppard Kellam, M.D.
1998 - 2001
Gilbert Botvin, Ph.D.
2001 - 2003
Zili Sloboda, Sc.D.
1993 - 1999
J. David Hawkins, Ph.D.
2003 - 2005
J. Mark Eddy, Ph.D.
1999 - 2001
Anthony Biglan , Ph.D.
2005 - 2007
Christopher Ringwalt, Dr.Ph.
2001 - 2004
Zili Sloboda, Sc.D.
2007 - 2009
Richard Spoth, Ph.D.
2004 - 2007
Linda Collins, Ph.D.
2009 - 2011
Deborah Capaldi, Ph.D.
2007 - 2008
Laurie Miller Brotman, Ph.D.
2008 - 2010



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