Discussion questions for classrooms
- For decades, the national approach to prevention has relied primarily on educating people about health and safety risks in order to influence their behaviors. Why is it insufficient to merely teach people information about health? What does it mean, practically, to ‘go beyond brochures’?
- Primary Prevention is designed to prevent problems before they occur. Discuss the differences between primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention.
- “Strong convictions about personal responsibility have been transformed to seem inherently opposed to community responsibility. Almost any action taken to help people be safer or healthier has been belittled and deliberately framed as the ‘nanny state,’ shorthand for making people in the U.S. believe that consumer protection policies are overprotective and disrespectful of ‘personal choice.'” Discuss the idea of the ‘Nanny State.’ Why does it become such a central concern and why is it a barrier to advancing effective prevention strategies? How would you overcome these barriers? What would you say to someone who suggests that policies to improve our health are just part of the “nanny state”
- Follow the Two Steps to Prevention to identify how a health or safety concern in your own life was created by your environment or exposures.
- List many of the prevention policies that affect your life or protect you. (E.g. seatbelts, safe public drinking water, pre-k programs, etc.). What would daily life be like without the prevention policies that are in place in your community and nationally?
- Looking at your community and around the nation, what changes or additional policies and practices would be helpful to improve health and safety for everyone?
Resources from Prevention Institute
The updated and revised second edition of Prevention is Primary equips public health advocates, the primary care workforce, and community-based organizations with best practices, concrete prevention tools, and strategies to strengthen community efforts.
Communities across the globe are developing quality approaches to health based on a new way of thinking: one that examines the root causes of illness and injury. In this issue of the international journal Environment & Urbanization, Prevention Institute makes the case that community prevention is indeed a global concern.
Building a Thriving Nation: 21st-Century Vision and Practice to Advance Health and Equity, published by the Health Education & Behavior journal, includes a brief overview of our work and tools based on Executive Director Larry Cohen’s keynote speech at the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) national convening
Two steps to prevention traces the path from illness or injury back to community conditions, and root factors that cause poor health and inequality. The traditional health system trajectory in the U.S. starts with a medical condition, like a heart attack, and moves to interventions and drug treatment. The first step to prevention identifies risk factors for that illness, like poor diet and sedentary behavior. The second step is critical: It reveals the environmental conditions that shape the factors leading to a heart attack, such as a lack of access to healthy food or safe places to be active. We call these environmental factors the community determinants of health, and by looking at them, we can find community solutions that support prevention and wellness for everyone.
PI’s Policy and Advocacy Portal is a one-stop shop for the latest national policy news, advocacy opportunities, and resources relating to community prevention and health equity.
Tobacco control efforts represent some of the public health field’s most effective prevention efforts. Policy changes such as tax increases and restricting smoking in public spaces and work places has shifted norms around tobacco use and saved many lives, while reducing costs associated with medical treatment for tobacco-related illness.
The Spectrum of Prevention is a systematic tool that promotes a range of activities for effective prevention. It has been used nationally in prevention initiatives for traffic safety, violence prevention, injury prevention, nutrition, and fitness.
THRIVE stands for Tool for Health and Resilience in Vulnerable Environments. It is a framework for understanding how structural drivers, such as racism, play out at the community level in terms of the social-cultural, physical/built, and economic/ educational environments.
Enhancing Effective Partnerships for Health Equity explores the power of partnerships for improving equity. It introduces the Eight Steps to Coalition Building, which can be used to launch and stabilize effective equity-focused coalitions.
Larry Cohen, founder and executive director of the Prevention Institute, chronicles the history of anti-smoking efforts, and how he helped guide a new approach that has resulted in policy and legislative changes.
Larry Cohen, founder and executive director of the Prevention Institute, emphasizes the importance of both local and national policies that support prevention efforts and contribute to system-wide change.
*** For up-to-date news on prevention, see Prevention Institute’s Weekly Media Digest posts in the Prevention Institute Blog ***
Recent violence across the nation is disturbing. The risk of violence is predictable under certain conditions. But it is not inevitable — and it can be minimized.
APHA champions the health of all people and all communities by speaking out for public health issues and policies backed by science. APHA influences federal policy, bringing together members from all fields of public health. Their mission is to Improve the health of the public and achieve equity in health status
ASTHO is a national nonprofit organization representing public health agencies in the United States, the U.S. Territories, and the District of Columbia, and over 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO’s primary function is to track, evaluate, and advise members on the impact and formation of public or private health policy which may affect them and to provide them with guidance and technical assistance on improving the nation’s health.
The Convergence Partnership is a collaborative of foundations and health-care institutions working to foster healthier and more equitable environments for all children and families. At the local, state, regional, and national levels, the Partnership works at the intersection of multiple issues to advance healthy people and healthy places through joint action and policy and practice changes.
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) was founded in the 1960’s. Since its inception, NACCHO has sought to improve the public’s health while adhering to a set of core values: equity, excellence, participation, respect, integrity, leadership, science & innovation. Today, NACCHO is comprised of nearly 3,000 local health departments across the United States.
PHI is dedicated to improving health and wellness by discovering new research, strengthening key partnerships and programs, and advancing sound health policies. PHI generates and promotes research, leadership and partnerships to build capacity for strong public health policy, programs, systems and practices.
PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity. Founded in 1999, PolicyLink connects the work of people on the ground to the creation of sustainable communities of opportunity that allow everyone to participate and prosper. Such communities offer access to quality jobs, affordable housing, good schools, transportation, and the benefits of healthy food and physical activity.
Prevention Institute was founded in 1997 as the national center for developing and advancing the practice of primary prevention. They strive to shift the overarching mindset and approach to health from one that focuses solely on treating sick individuals, to one that prevents disease, violence and injury before they occur.
SOPHE is a nonprofit, independent professional association that represents nearly 4,000 health education professionals and students in the United States and 25 international countries. SOPHE members work in schools, universities, voluntary organizations, health care settings, worksites, and in local, state and federal government agencies. SOPHE focuses on raising awareness of the connection between behavioral sciences, health education, health promotion, and the surrounding environment. They emphasize strategic partnerships, capacity building, and advocacy efforts by educating policy makers and providing training and resources to help public health workers improve advocacy skills.
Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority. By focusing on PREVENTION, PROTECTION, and COMMUNITIES, TFAH is leading the fight to make disease prevention a national priority, from Capitol Hill to Main Street.