COURSE #1: Introduction to Prevention Science
This course serves as a basic introduction to the field of prevention science. Lectures preceding discussion will be given by leading NIH scientists in the field of prevention science with an emphasis on alcohol and other drug research and intervention. The course begins with a general history and overview of the field relative to the public health approach to prevention, comparing cultural and psychosocial to biomedical approaches. Lectures focus on research strategies and intervention models that address environmental factors involved with AOD-related problems, emphasizing family, school, workplace and community-based approaches. The history of and empirical support for each of these programs is evaluated. Readings will be assigned.
Scientific and Historical Background
Week 1 Definitions of prevention science in public health, historical roots of public health approach, concepts of prevention “environments” with focus on geography, social organization and cultural factors.
Week 2 The epidemiology of AOD problems. Assessing physical and social consequences and costs of use.
Week 3 Genetic and biological markers and alcohol metabolism, physiological effects of alcohol use/abuse and alcoholism.
Week 4 Family-based approaches to the prevention of AOD use and problems.
Week 5 Social-psychological approaches to understanding AOD use. Implications for prevention.
Week 6 Discussion
Week 7 Cultural models of drug and alcohol abuse.
Practical Applications in Prevention Science
Week 8 Policy and regulatory approaches to the reduction of AOD problems. Community systems and economic approaches. Community-based environmental interventions to reduce AOD problems.
Week 9 Prevention models in clinical settings. Screening and brief interventions.
Week 10 Site-specific environmental strategies. Workplace culture.
Week 11 Site-specific environmental strategies. The schools, higher education.
Week 12 School-based approaches to the reduction of AOD problems.
Week 13 Alcohol, public policy and law.
Week 14 Final review and discussion.
COURSE #2: Research Ethics and Grant Application Practicum
The first 13 meetings of this 16-week course interweave consideration of various ethical issues associated with the conduct of research with presentations on grant application development-related concerns. The last 3 meetings consider various aspects of the application submission process and provide trainees the opportunity to simulate this process in mock fashion. Successful completion of the course requires the trainee develop all six components of a preliminary grant application, complete one full formal review of an unrelated grant application, and present two case studies in public health ethics. These activities will be intensively coordinated with each trainee’s primary mentor. Additionally, each trainee will participate in a mock review process. Readings will be assigned.
Week 1 Ethics: Discussion of public health ethics from a societal and social justice perspective. Introduction to ethical considerations in public health, prevention, research in prevention science, and the protection of human subjects.
Week 2 Practicum: Grant writing with a basic overview of the general process of developing a grant application and a specific focus on the development of the Specific Aims section. The general tripartite structure of the course will be established: (1) At each practicum meeting, the instructor will lead a group discussion of progress on the section of the grant application discussed at the previous practicum meeting. (2) This will be followed by a presentation on the next section of the application by the session’s practicum instructor, drawing upon examples from her or his own work and two selected grant exemplars. (3) Faculty and trainees will hold a group discussion of the development of each section of each application. Between sessions, each trainee will revise previous sections of the application and work on the next section of the application.
Week 3 Ethics: Discussion of scientific research ethics in broadest terms. The ethical conduct of scientific research, scientific responsibility, and the maintenance of the scientific commons.
Week 4 Practicum: Grant application development with a focus on the Background and Significance section.
Week 5 Ethics: Problems of scientific objectivity, ethical issues associated with scientific publications, and the conduct of scientific research.
Week 6 Practicum: Grant application development with a focus on the Preliminary Studies section.
Week 7 Ethics: Ethics with a focus on legal issues in public health. Public health, public health policy, and the law.
Week 8 Practicum: Grant application development with a focus on writing qualitative and quantitative Design and Methods sections. Since these sections are highly specific to each application, greater time is allotted to individual trainee discussions.
Week 9 Practicum: Grant application development with a focus on the Design and Methods sections (continued). Measurement issues, operationalizations and discussion of “power” in qualitative and quantitative applications. Since these sections are highly specific to each application, greater time will be allotted to individual trainee discussions.
Week 10 Ethics: Trainees present and analyze two case studies following an established protocol that emphasizes the goals of scientific inquiry, proper conduct of research with human subjects, objective reporting of research findings, and the role of scientific facts in the construction and implementation of public health policies.
Week 11 Practicum: Discussion of the NIH review process and pink sheet comments from exemplar applications. Discussion of responses and “responsiveness” to reviewer comments. An outline of the NIH review process will be provided.
Week 12 Practicum: Budget development, budget justifications, and the use of Appendix material. This session will consist of presentations on the structure and development of budgets and budget justifications from the perspectives of administrative and research/scientific staff, respectively. Sample budgets will be presented and developed. Group discussions will focus on roughing out a budget for each trainee’s application.
Week 13 Ethics: Specific issues related to the treatment of human subjects. Each trainee’s grant application will undergo human subjects review in detail by two faculty in the program. The goal is to provide critical supportive feedback to guide further development of each application.
Week 14 Practicum: Instructor and faculty public review of trainee applications. Includes comprehensive human subjects review and comment.
Week 15 Ethics: The Institutional Review Board (IRB) review processes.
Week 16 Course review and discussion. Debriefing on the course.
COURSE #3: Research Methods in Prevention Science
This course presents an introduction to general research methods used by prevention scientists as practical examples of currently conducted prevention research. The three-segment course covers general methodological approaches to research in the field. Following a brief introduction to research methods in prevention research, three lectures will cover qualitative methods in prevention research. Unique to the applied nature of prevention research, the next five lectures will cover methods for the evaluation of specific prevention programs with an emphasis upon the integration of program design and evaluation methods (e.g., logic models, process evaluation, efficacy and effectiveness trials, assessments of program fidelity, and outcome analyses). The final four lectures will address four specific quantitative approaches to prevention research commonly used in the research literature (linear and nonlinear models, mathematical models and related tools, and other integrated approaches). Specific topics include methods for the assessment of theoretical and empirical models of AOD problems, ethnography and community prevention, underage and intoxicated patron surveys, measuring alcohol consumption, archival data analysis, geographic analysis, interview methods, evaluation research, and role of health economics in prevention research.
Meetings during the 14-week course consist of a summary of research methods or a detailed presentation of one research application of a specific research method in prevention science. Specific research problems are emphasized in order to provide a suitable content framework in which to understand the kinds of research questions that each method can address. Readings will be assigned.
Week 1 Introduction to Research Methods: Expectations for trainees will be discussed. An informal outline will be provided of the methodological approaches to be discussed in subsequent lectures. Research methods that support two general regimes for research in prevention science will be the focus of the lectures: (1) program development, application and evaluation, and (2) basic science (qualitative and quantitative methods).
Week 2 Qualitative Methods 1 – Ethnographic Analysis of Environmental Risks and
Protective Factors: A brief overview of the ethnographic method will be presented with a discussion of its conceptual and practical application for basic research and intervention. Using examples from recent publications on alcohol and the workplace, the success of using the ethnographic method in identifying and explaining environmental risks and protective factors and, thereafter, applying findings to prevention programming, will be demonstrated.
Week 3 Qualitative Methods 2 – Qualitative Data Management and Analytical
Methods: The mechanics of managing qualitative data and the analytical strategies that qualitative researchers use to mine that data will be discussed. Drawing from a dataset of drinking and sexual risks among Navy recruits, the iterative processes through which ethnographic materials are handled, coded and analyzed will be examined.
Week 4 Qualitative Methods 3 – Ethnography and Community Prevention: Emphasis on the contribution ethnography can make to the science of community-level prevention of alcohol-related and other health problems. The case study is the ethnographic “mop-up” conducted in three Community Trials intervention sites, as well as three comparison communities.
Week 5 Evaluating Environmental Prevention Programs – An Example: Discussion on phases of preventive intervention program development and presentation of one example of an evaluation of a multi-component environmental prevention program (Community Trials).
Week 6 Evaluating Youth Prevention Programs – An Example: The development and application of youth prevention programs for the reduction of alcohol access, use, and related problems among underage drinkers.
Week 7 Evaluating Family-Based Prevention Programs – An Example: Discussion on the development and application of family-based programs for the reduction of alcohol-related problems among youth.
Week 8 Evaluating College-Based Prevention Programs – An Example: The development and application of college-based programs for the reduction of alcohol-related problems among underage college youth and young adults will be discussed.
Week 9 Integrated Program Evaluation Methods: An opportunity will be provided for the trainees to review applications of program evaluation methods in prevention research with a view to understanding the role(s) of these methods in guiding their future work in this area. This open discussion session is intended to enable trainees to focus on the potential role(s) of these methods in their own work.
Week 10 Quantitative Methods 1 – Overview of Linear Models: Basic overview of linear modeling with examples in SPSS software and published studies. Trainees will gain a better understanding of the basic assumptions of linear modeling, the types of research questions that can be addressed with linear modeling, and statistical software that is available for linear modeling.
Week 11 Quantitative Methods 2 – Overview of Nonlinear Model: Basic overview of nonlinear modeling with examples in SPSS software and published studies. Trainees will gain a better understanding of the basic assumptions of nonlinear modeling, why nonlinear modeling techniques are of substantive importance in research studies, and statistical software that is available for nonlinear modeling.
Week 12 Quantitative Methods 3 – Overview of Mathematical Models: The role of mathematical models in two areas of alcohol research will be discussed: alcohol epidemiology and environmental prevention. Two articles will be discussed, one representing dynamic systems models of drinking and relapse and another representing agent-based models of the effects of availability on rates of alcohol problems.
Week 13 Integrated Quantitative Methods: Trainees will have the opportunity to review applications of program evaluation methods in prevention research with a view to understanding the role(s) of these methods in guiding their future work in this area. This open discussion session is intended to enable trainees to focus on the potential role(s) of these methods in their own work.
Week 14: Course review and discussion.
COURSE #4 : Advanced Methods in Prevention Research: Selected Topics
This course addresses advanced analysis and statistical issues encountered in the application of the methods typically used in prevention science along with addressing the problem of integrating quantitative and qualitative analytic approaches. The goal of the course is to provide post-doctoral trainees with an acquaintance with state-of-the art techniques and concerns in qualitative and quantitative analyses applied to prevention science. The course begins with a discussion of qualitative/field approaches to data from small groups and community environments with an emphasis upon the integration of these approaches with quantitative methods. The limitations and complementarities of both approaches are highlighted. The classical general linear model is introduced and the limitations of this approach are discussed. Implications of violations of the assumptions of the classical model are discussed along with statistically appropriate remedies.
Week 1 Analyzing text through text analysis software.
Week 2 Integrating methods. Integrating disciplines through the combined use of both quantitative and qualitative data.
Week 3 Qualitative intervention studies.
Week 4 Epidemiological methods.
Week 5 Introduction to regression analysis. Techniques appropriate to formal and natural experimental designs. Cross-sectional, time-series, and time-series panel designs.
Week 6 Analysis of hierarchically-ordered data. General problems encountered in such designs and appropriate remedies.
Week 7 Time-series analysis. Analyzing temporally ordered data. Time-series cross-sectional designs.
Week 8 Mid-course review and discussion.
Week 9 Classical and Bayesian spatial analysis and spatial panels.
Week 10 Collection and analysis of epidemiologic data from a social epidemiology perspective.
Week 11 Introduction to structural equation modeling. The use of multi-equation models in Prevention Science.
Week 12 SEM continued: Longitudinal models of change and trajectory analysis, discrete mixture models.
Week 13 Modeling sample selection bias. The problem of modeling in the presence of missing data.
Week 14 Quantitative analysis of qualitative data: Logits, probits, ordered and unordered multinomials, loglinear models.
Week 15 Course evaluation and final discussion.