Megan Smith, an assistant professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Health, presented a webinar for the Society for Public Health Education on Oct. 3. Smith is a member of the society and sits on the advocacy committee.
Smith’s webinar provided a thorough description of the highly effective Icelandic Prevention Approach to youth substance abuse, which decreased rates of youth alcohol abuse from 42 percent to 6 percent. The Icelandic Prevention Approach originated from the Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis and now thrives as a Planet Youth project, expanding into several countries including Australia, Chile and many others.
Recently, the team has been working to translate this approach into the American opioid epidemic, with pilot projects in various phases in West Virginia, Vermont and Idaho. Smith’s work builds on education, human development and public health science to study the contextual factors that promote or thwart health outcomes – particularly substance abuse, mental health and sexual risk behavior – for young people. Smith shared her research and perspective as a member of the Planet Youth team, and discussed the translation process from research into practice with several practical examples.
Learn more about The Icelandic Prevention Approach through a research study by Mike Mann, an associate professor and graduate coordinator for the Department of Community and Environmental Health.