UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Over the past four decades, prevention science has grown steadily, producing evidence-based practices and policies that prevent negative medical, social and emotional impacts before they occur. Increasingly, the Penn State-led National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives (NPSC) is being recognized for its work translating science to policymakers, educators, practitioners and communities.
Diana Fishbein, professor of human development and family studies at Penn State and president and co-director of the NPSC, said that the goal of the coalition is to improve lives by preventing social ills and promoting well-being by translating scientific knowledge into effective and sustainable practices, systems and policies.
“I founded the coalition six years ago while at RTI International, an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition based out of North Carolina,” said Fishbein. “I received a National Institutes of Health grant to develop a national conference series gathering scientists and agency representatives to begin a conversation about translating science to policy. The NPSC was formed to formalize the association of conference participants on social issues such as mental health, poverty and juvenile justice.”
Fishbein also was a co-investigator on a grant from the Obama administration’s Promise Neighborhoods initiative to uplift impoverished neighborhoods.
“When the grant ended we wanted to continue to translate our research to impact communities,” Fishbein said.
Currently, the coalition is largely a volunteer 501c3 nonprofit organization but receives foundation funding for various projects. It includes more than 700 members and is comprised of an interdisciplinary group of scientists, educators, community stakeholders, policymakers, advocates and foundation representatives. Additionally, there is a contingent of 59 Penn State researchers and graduate students who are members.