When you think about your environment, do you ever think about how the setting and everyone in it actually contributes to the choices we make? Whether it's a home, neighborhood, school, community, or workplace, we respond to the conditions that surround us. Our lives are impacted by our surroundings and studying how and why this happens can inform changes that can help us lead healthier and longer lives.

The Prevention Research Center is home to a group of scientists, including sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists and epidemiologists, who work collaboratively across disciplines on understanding how the environment (including laws, economies, social circumstances and normative settings) affects health behaviors. A primary focus is on the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; and how such consumption results in short- and long-term harm. The goal of this research is to identify aspects of the environment that can be changed to improve health.

The Center's emphasis on the environment places the focus on how a person's health-related behavior is shaped by family, school, work, and community policies, norms, and histories. Our research naturally leads to the development and testing of prevention programs and policies that can be implemented at local, state and national levels.