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Special Conference Theme: Cells to Society: Prevention at All Levels

This theme builds on the work of the SPR Mapping Advances in Prevention Science (MAPS) I, Type 1 Translation Research workgroup emphasizing a recent shift in prevention science to include the assessment of biomarkers for problem behaviors that have implications for prevention. These biomarkers can be identified using a wide variety of tools such as assessment of hormones, brain imaging studies and consideration of neurogenetic traits. Incorporating advances in neuroscience into prevention research helps to facilitate the early identification of markers, both biological and behavioral, that can then be targets of behavioral interventions. Plenary sessions and symposia will be designed to promote the conference theme, including presenters from each phase of intervention planning, from the biologic laboratory to intervention to a public health approach. Abstract submissions will largely reflect the same type of integration of basic laboratory research and intervention development.

Subthemes. There are a number of “subthemes” that together build the larger special conference theme of cells to society.

Policy and Practice: Implications of Biomarkers on Prevention Science. Rapid advances in our understanding of how genetic and neurocognitive factors influence risk present an important public health challenge. With the increasing availability of testing to consumers, it is not a question of whether, but how and how effectively genetic and neurobiological information on risk of disease will become part of public health policy. A challenge for investigators is to act as responsible interpreters of the science in the process of translating knowledge to practice.

Culture, Context, Cells and Prevention. Research examining biomarkers often neglects the study of culture and contextual factors. Similarly, work focused on culture and contextual factors often does not consider biomarkers. Prevention research has demonstrated the importance of culture and context in the risk of disease, thus research considering culture, context and biomarkers is critical.

Cells to Society: Change and Stability Across the Lifespan. In order to maximize efficacy prevention research must consider variability in developmental change across the lifespan. The literature has further established that physiological functioning (and therefore the biomarker indices) varies by developmental stage. Integrating our understanding of how physiological processes and biomarkers change across the lifespan with approaches generated by the prevention sciences represents an important strategy for increasing our likelihood of success in improving and preventing disease and dysfunction.

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

Epidemiology. Basic behavioral science and epidemiology remain the basis of strong intervention and prevention programs. Submissions focused on describing risk factors within specific populations, especially those with a developmental and/or lifespan approach would be consistent with this theme.

Etiology. Etiological and basic science research efforts generate knowledge that contributes to the development of future preventive efforts. Submissions examining biological and psychosocial factors in the development of risk, problems and healthy development could be submitted under this theme.

Efficacy Trials.
Efficacy trials demonstrate the “proof of concept” with a specified population under conditions of high quality assurance and strong research designs (typically randomized controlled designs). Submissions reporting findings from efficacy trials are welcome and those that combine efficacy trial research with one of the special conference theme are particularly encouraged.

Effectiveness Trials. Effectiveness trials involve replicating an efficacious intervention under real world conditions in community settings.

Implementation Science. Dissemination, implementation, and operations research can help to bridge the gap between clinical research and everyday practice through a dynamic, transactional process between the public health community and researchers. Studies should advance the scientific understanding of dissemination strategies, adoption of interventions, intervention fidelity and adaptation, effectiveness, and sustainability of interventions – and outcomes are encouraged at the individual, provider, organizational, and system level. Operations research can inform how best to effectively and cost-effectively overcome the real-world challenges of implementation.

Innovative Methods and Statistics. “Cutting edge” studies and methodological analyses that address measurement, statistical and design challenges to prevention science, as well as the benefits offered by various innovative statistical methods are invited. Submissions describing strategies that have been designed or used to help overcome some of these unique challenges to prevention science are especially encouraged (i.e., advances in methods and statistics for neuroimaging and genetics).

In addition to the themes described above, there are two special themes for the 2010 conference. These themes, although distinct from the special and general conference themes described above, may include research that may also fit into one of the other conference themes.

System Science Perspectives. Exploring the use of systems science approaches (e.g., computational modeling and simulation, network analysis, engineering control methods) to conceptualize prevention at the micro- or macro-levels of analyses. System science involves taking into account the big picture in all its complexity (i.e., a system view) while also taking into account the important relationships between components of a system and changes in the system over time. This topic is of particular relevance for prevention science because translational efforts in prevention are squarely aimed at maximizing the population impacts of prevention intervention-related scientific discoveries while also incorporating knowledge from the basic neurobiological sciences for the possibility of designing more finely targeted interventions.

International Prevention Research. We are actively engaged in promoting and encouraging international collaboration in prevention research. We encourage submissions that highlight prevention strategies employed in multiple countries as well as from international prevention scientists.

NIDA International SPR Poster Session. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is sponsoring an international poster session. Posters will highlight prevention and prevention-related research completed in international settings by international, domestic and cross-nation teams of researchers. A separate call for submissions to this international poster session will be issued.

Society for Prevention Research I 11240 Waples Mill Road, #200 I Fairfax, VA I 703-934-4850