PROSPER (Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience) is a delivery system that fosters implementation of evidence-based youth and family interventions, complete with ongoing needs assessments, monitoring of implementation quality and partnership functions, and evaluation of intervention outcomes. The partnership includes (1) state-level university researchers and Extension-based program directors, (2) a prevention coordinator team typically based in the Cooperative Extension System (CES), and (3) local community strategic teams, consisting of a CES team leader, a representative from the public elementary/secondary school systems who serves as a co-leader, representatives of local human service agencies and other relevant service providers, and other community stakeholders, such as youths and parents.
As PROSPER teams develop, they involve other stakeholders who can positively influence program recruitment, program implementation, and sustainability (such as individuals from various church groups, parent groups, businesses, law enforcement agencies, and/or the media). The local strategic teams receive technical support from the university-level and CES prevention coordinator team members, who attend the local team meetings. This technical assistance is proactive, meaning contact is made with local team members frequently (weekly or biweekly) in order to actively engage in collaborative problem solving. Once formed, the local team selects evidenced-based, universal-level family-focused and school-based programs to implement with middle school youth and their families in the local school district.
In an evaluation of PROSPER, 28 school districts from Iowa and Pennsylvania were recruited to participate in a randomized, cohort sequential design involving two cohorts. Communities were blocked on school district size and geographic location and then randomly assigned to either the treatment (14 districts) or control (14 districts) condition. The family intervention was delivered in the sixth-grade year, while the school-based intervention was delivered in the seventh-grade year. Combined, the interventions lasted for 1.5 years. Spoth et al. (2007) reported significant program effects after both the family- and school-focused interventions were delivered, for PROSPER youth relative to controls, on lifetime use of gateway (cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana) and illicit drugs. Also PROSPER youth were less likely than controls to initiate use of marijuana, inhalants, methamphetamines, and ecstasy. In a one-year follow-up, Redmond et al. (2009) found substance use expectancies and association with antisocial peers were significantly improved. In addition, child-to-mother affective quality, parent-child activities, and family environment improved at posttest and the 1-year follow-up. Meanwhile, Spoth et al. (2015) reported significantly fewer conduct problem behaviors compared to the control group up to five years after the intervention ended.
In terms of cost-benefit analysis, Washington State Institute for Public Policy (December 2018) reports $1.57 in measured benefits per $1 spent in implementing PROSPER.
Spoth, R., Redmond, C., Shin, C., Greenberg, M., Clair, S., & Feinberg, M. (2007). Substance-use outcomes at 18 months past baseline: The PROSPER community-university partnership trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 32(5), 395-402.
Redmond, C., Spoth, R. L., Shin, C., Schainker, L. M., Greenberg, M. T., & Feinberg, M. (2009). Long-term protective factor outcomes of evidence-based interventions implemented by community teams through a community-university partnership. Journal of Primary Prevention, 30, 513-530.
Spoth, R. L., Trudeau, L. S., Redmond, C. R., Shin, C., Greenberg, M. T., Feinberg, M. E., & Hyun, G. (2015). PROSPER partnership delivery system: Effects on adolescent conduct problem behavior outcomes through 6.5 years past baseline. Journal of Adolescence, 45, 44-55.