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GSSWGraduate School of Social Work

Professor Jenson and Colleagues Unleash the Power of Prevention

August 6, 2015

A national coalition of prevention experts chaired by Professor Jeff Jenson, Philip D. and Eleanor G. Winn Professor for Children and Youth at Risk, has initiated a plan to prevent a variety of behavioral health problems among children and youth. Jenson and other members of the Coalition for the Promotion of Behavioral Health recently published a paper called Unleashing the Power of Prevention on the National Academy of Medicine website.

Associate Professor Kim Bender is among the paper’s 19 authors. The paper outlines an action agenda aimed at reducing youth problems such as aggression, substance use and school dropout by 20 percent in the next decade.

 “The ideas put forward by the Coalition are consistent with evidence pointing to the effectiveness of preventive interventions for children and youth,” says Jenson. “We now have a body of research indicating that many behavioral health problems can be prevented. The Coalition for the Promotion of Behavioral Health is working with researchers, policy officials, and practitioners from social work, public health, medical, and other disciplines to implement the strategies identified in the paper.” 

 Unleashing the Power of Prevention is also part of the Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative developed by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. The Academy invited proposals and subsequently identified 12 issues that focus on a range of individual and social problems.

“The Grand Challenges initiative has served as a critical organizing mechanism for our work,” says Jenson. “I am delighted to see GSSW and the field of social work involved in cutting-edge strategies to prevent child and adolescent problems and promote positive development in all young people.”

Dean James Herbert Williams is a member of the Grand Challenges Executive Committee.