Florida Prevention Research Center planning launch of training website

| CFH, Featured News, Monday Letter, Online Programs, Our People, PRC

The USF College of Public Health’s Florida Prevention Research Center held a strategic planning session with its national advisory committee in June, immediately after the conclusion of the Social Marketing Conference.  The meeting provided PRC with valuable insights into revising its social marketing training website, said Mahmooda Pasha, a COPH doctoral student who heads the project.

The site is anchored in the community-based Prevention Marketing for Policy Development framework created for the PRC by its director and USF Health Distinguished Professor, Carol Bryant, PhD, MS.

Carol Bryant

Dr. Carol Bryant

“It’s a multi-step process that a coalition or a group of people interested in a topic work through together,” Pasha said.  “The first version of it, CBPM for Program Development, focused on developing programs or interventions to change behavior.”

As a matter of sustainability, Pasha said, a shift to a greater reliance on policy followed.

“Rather than having a downstream approach – which is doing a program, but once the funding dries up, the program dries up, too – we moved toward having more policies.”

The PRC has been working with the Lexington coalition on the framework’s eight-step process for five years, Pasha said.

The first step involves simply getting the coalition together and assessing available resources in terms of implementation.  The second and third steps identify the issue, then choose the best match from the bank of evidence-based policies that relate to that issue.  Step four identifies who supports, who benefits, and who may oppose the chosen policy.  Step five is focused on research with the groups identified in the previous step.  Step six is the development of an integrated strategic marketing plan.  Finally, steps seven and eight involve monitoring, evaluation and advocacy.

“We co-created this with the Lexington, Ky., coalition.  We implemented with them, got feedback, revised it, and came up with this larger curriculum by the time we went through all the eight steps,” Pasha said.  “It was an intensive process having a university partner actively engaged in work with the coalition.

“We had a five-year, multimillion-dollar CDC grant.  One of the products that we promised the CDC is that we would take our co-creation process and develop a web-based training site so that other coalitions from around the United States or internationally can benefit from what we learned and repeat the process in their own communities.”

Technical necessities brought in a third partner, Pasha said.  USF’s IT department, and more specifically, its e-learning unit, created the online presence.  The site is live and being accessed by a few other coalitions, she said, but is yet to be systematically proffered to all the identifiable groups that may want to use it.  That’s where the formal announcement, including internal and external news releases, will come in.

“We haven’t really taken it forward and said, ‘Okay, let’s identify coalitions that want to implement this and be their backstop, their technical assistance,’” Pasha said.  “They will go through the process themselves, and if they run into problems or have any issues, they can contact us, and we can provide some expertise.

“We want a lot of coalitions to start implementing it and having a more systematic way for how they do policy change rather than, ‘Hey, I talked to somebody, they think this may work, let’s try this.’  Now they’ll have the research base and the evidence base supporting that.”

The launch date would be coordinated with the partner coalition in Lexington, Ky., and news of the launch date will go out to other coalitions around the country, Pasha said.  She added that she has a tentative timeframe of the second week in August.

By the end of September, Pasha hopes to have one or two coalitions lined up.  The aim will be to have six to 10 coalitions implementing the training process, evaluating it, and providing feedback.  Active recruitment of coalitions will coincide with the start of the program’s new grant on Sept. 30, she said.

“Nothing else like it exists on the web for this type of work,” Pasha said.  “In that respect, I think it’s something the CDC would be very happy about, and I hope the CDC will be promoting it within the PRC network, as well.”

Story by David Brothers, USF College of Public Health