THE CONGRESSIONAL PREVENTION
Prevention science is a well-established area of research that improves the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities by developing and adopting science-based strategies that substantially reduce social ills, such as violence and drug addiction, prior to their emergence.
Implementation challenges hamper the ability to effectively tackle the problems we seek to address, particularly at scale.
A prevention policy caucus can help design effective programs and policies, as well as address implementation problems by providing policymakers with direct access to a body of experts and syntheses of relevant research that will eliminate barriers to effectively incorporating prevention science findings into policies.
The goal of this Caucus is to provide scientific information in a policy-relevant format that can guide the efficient use of taxpayer dollars in ways that achieve intended social impact.
This Caucus is assisted by the NPSC (composed of a large body of scientists, practitioners, educators, clinicians, and other experts) that will allow for long-term maintenance of the Caucus at no cost.
Overall, this caucus serves as a bi-partisan hub where policymakers have access to prevention science research, resources and expertise to address current societal issues.
The Congressional Prevention Policy Caucus connects congressional members and their staff with experts from the field of prevention science and other advisors to promote evidence-based legislative policies and processes to prevent adverse health conditions in a manner that reduces financial and other costs to the republic.
The Congressional Prevention Policy Caucus (CPPC) provides an environment within which federal policymakers have ready access to research findings and their sources, a body of experts, and a forum for debate on the cost/benefits of incorporating prevention practices and policies to inform decision-making. Further, this caucus eliminates barriers that policymakers have faced in the past when proposing to use prevention science to design effective policies by communicating evidence in non-technical terms, synthesizing the vast available literature, providing objective, non-partisan information, and providing access to scientists, practitioners and prevention policy experts in the field. By reducing these barriers, incorporating prevention science into policies and practices will become significantly less burdensome for policymakers. Finally, expert advisors available to the CPPC assist policymakers in identifying the most cost-effective preventative strategies. The CPPC provides a legislative forum within which policymakers can identify prevention strategies at the federal and state levels that warrant congressional support for their implementation and sustainment in communities.
Figure 1. The process of distilling prevention science findings for policymakers via the caucus to optimize federal resources.
The CPPC has access to a variety of resources that will allow for long-term maintenance and growth at no cost. The National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives (NPSC) is a crucial asset that provides the CPPC with staff resources, synthesis of prevention science research and a platform for non-partisan discussion of prevention science’s role in improving the health and wellbeing of society.
The NPSC is composed of over 700 scientists, practitioners, educators, clinicians, community groups, policymakers and advocates from over 75 universities and organizations across the country. Members of this coalition have decades of experience working in prevention science as well as experience in communicating the science. NPSC has hosted over 20 congressional briefings and has written numerous white papers, op-eds, policy statements and other materials that synthesize the science for public and private sectors.
Importantly, standards have recently been released to guide how researchers and public officials estimate costs, benefits and return on investment of prevention programs, and thus can provide crucial support to the CPPC in helping legislators achieve the greatest return on investment. The NPSC works with the CPPC in two capacities:
To provide expertise and
To organize CPPC proceedings
Further, the caucus plans to interact with other congressional caucuses and committees to expand upon our expertise and resources. Potential partnerships include but are not limited to the Family Violence Prevention Caucus, the Problem Solving Caucus, the Bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse and the Out of Poverty Caucus. NPSC is also aligned with hundreds of professional societies and national organizations and agencies (e.g., Administration for Children and Families, American Academy of Pediatrics, Coalition to Promote Behavioral Health Blueprints, the CDC, NIH, OJJDP, Safe States, etc.) that significantly expand the range of resources and ability to exert an impact by bodies responsible for executing policy. With the experience and breadth of experts in the NPSC, alongside collaborations with related caucuses and committees and additional external organizations, the CPPC will rapidly develop into a legislative support body capable of demonstrating how prevention science can be integrated into systems and policies that advance individual and societal wellbeing while reducing societal and economic costs.
The CPPC serves as a hub for prevention science information, resources and expertise for policymakers to consider in addressing current salient issues, including
The opioid crisis
Early child education
Community-police relations, and more...
The NPSC is available when summoned to assist lawmakers in the concrete translation of the evidence into actionable practices and policies that are consistent with the offices’ mandate to improve conditions across our nation. Research-based strategies grounded in prevention science, when implemented through legislative channels, would serve to reduce risks and strengthen protective factors in individuals, families and communities. In essence, this use of prevention science benefits BOTH the federal government as well as the general population (e.g., improves government efficiency, effectiveness, and programmatic outcomes).
- CPPC Members -
Tom Cole (R-OK)
Bill Foster (D-IL)
Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
Scott Peters (D-CA)
Kim Schrier (D-WA)
Bobby Scott (D-VA)
Paul Tonko (D-NY)