Spectrum of Prevention Examples

The IPC utilizes only interventions which have been proven effectiveand moves beyond ineffective approachesto create systematic, comprehensive strategies that change conditions, which lead to improved community safety measures. There are many scientifically-evaluated, evidence-informed interventions that have proven effective in reducing injuries and violence. However, there is often a “knee-jerk” reaction when selecting an intervention – a trap that many organizations/groups fall into when implementing prevention programs. As is the case when selecting treatment for injured patients, knowledge of the range of effective injury prevention strategies is critical when choosing prevention options (Fowler, 2009).Often the “knee-jerk” reaction is a preoccupation with the individual: the blame the victim, train the victim paradigm. Dr. George Albee has said, “No mass disorder afflicting mankind is ever brought under control or eliminated by attempts at treating the individual.” Injury is a mass disorder requiring preventive action. To control this problem, we must move beyond talking to individuals about safety and embrace the wide range of effective population based intervention options.

The IPC utilizes the Four “Es” when developing strategies:

1) Engineering (and technology); 2) Enforcement (and legislation); 3) Economic approaches (incentives and disincentives); and 4) Education (and behavior change). Research has shown that prevention measures are more effective if they are 1) passive vs. active; 2) one-time vs. frequent; 3) environmental vs. behavioral; and 4) required vs. suggested.

The IPC also utilizes the Spectrum of Prevention, developed by the Prevention Institute, as a tool for developing prevention strategies. The Spectrum of Prevention identifies multiple levels of intervention and encourages people to move beyond the perception that prevention is about teaching healthy behaviorsby promoting a multifaceted range of activities for effective prevention(Cohen, 1999).

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