Strategic Prevention Framework

Assessment
What is the need and why?

Assessment is the first step of the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) process, and it helps communities answer the question: What is the need? Community members have their own perspectives, beliefs and ideas about the reason for their coalition's existence and those all have value and are important. The assessment process must consider those different opinions and use data to guide all prevention decisions. Assessment guides coalitions in asking questions to clarify the problem and better describe the needs, resources, and readiness of the community to address community problems.

The questions a community asks will be rooted in a public health model, using epidemiological data and identifies risk and protective factors associated with the needed change. The Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF)'s Assessment step requires working with a diverse group of partners to better understand the culture, capacity and readiness of the community and coalition to influence change.

Key things to keep in mind:
  • Understand the context of substance use and behavioral health
  • Select key data to present the needs and to measure in an ongoing way
  • Explore possible reasons driving the data (e.g., patterns, trends, etc.)
  • Mobilize community members and leaders
  • Consider alternative methods of assessment, such as focus groups and interviews
  • Identify what is already in place and how it is helping efforts (e.g., funds, people, materials, and other resources)