Center of Excellence for Recovery to hold free Spring Prevention Conference and Celebration

Marshall Old Main in summer

Marshall University is partnering with several statewide organizations to empower higher education student leaders at 10 southern West Virginia institutions with skills to assist their institutions and communities in preventing substance use and misuse. The project’s second annual Spring Prevention Conference and Celebration will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Thursday, May 12, and from 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Friday, May 13, at the Resort at Glade Springs in Daniels, West Virginia.

The conference is made possible through Marshall’s Collegiate Strategic Prevention Framework Partnership for Success (C-SPF-PFS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant with the support of partners including the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ (DHHR) Bureau for Behavioral Health, SAMHSA, West Virginia Collegiate Recovery Network, DHHR’s Office of Drug Control Policy, the West Virginia Collegiate Initiative to Address High Risk Substance Use and the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute.

The conference will address the science of primary prevention with the first keynote speaker, Dr. Tammy Collins from the Center of Excellence for Recovery. The C-SPF-PFS team  has built an inspiring and informative agenda for the three breakout sessions. Each session will provide participants with a variety of strategies for prevention.

“Highlighting the leadership of West Virginia’s youth in preventing behavioral health disorders will be a key feature of the spring prevention conference,” Collins said. “Research has long suggested that prevention messages are more effective when shared by young people with young people. We are fortunate in this state to have so many bright and caring youth dedicated to making their communities healthier, happier places to learn and live.”

The other keynote speaker, on May 13, is Tahnee Bryant, NPN, Program Manager II from the DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health. She will be discussing the dos and don’ts of effective prevention by introducing the Prevention Guidebook.

“As West Virginia’s National Prevention Network (NPN) and Program Manager for Substance Use Prevention for the DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health, I am excited to attend and present at the Science of Prevention conference,” Bryant said. “This year’s conference reiterates that effective substance use prevention programs and strategies must be data-driven, evidence-based and implemented with full fidelity. The Bureau for Behavioral Health, in collaboration with the state’s Prevention First Network, developed a Prevention Guidebook that outlines effective prevention: what works, what does not work and why. As we continue to work with communities, schools, and colleges it is important to convey effective and scientifically proven methods to deliver substance use prevention programs and strategies.”

The goals for the 2022 Spring Prevention Conference and Celebration are to increase the participants’ knowledge about primary prevention; discuss the science of primary prevention; introduce effective prevention in our state; increase participants’ prevention skills; and recognize and celebrate the exemplary prevention groups and partners doing meaningful work around West Virginia.

Heather McDonnell-Stalnaker is the C-SPF Project Director at Marshall University Research Corporation Center of Excellence for Recovery.

“I feel that this conference will promote the idea that prevention is a science that is backed by research and data,” McDonnell-Stalnaker said.

The conference will also promote student leadership and participation in prevention work with a youth panel discussion and student leaders from four institutions presenting sessions on topics ranging from using social media as a prevention strategy to destigmatizing language for professionals and students.

For more information about the Collegiate Prevention Initiative, speakers, sessions, or the Spring Prevention Conference and Celebration, please visit www.MUPrevention.org.

Interested media, please contact Heather McDonnell-Stalnaker, mcdonnellsta@marshall.edu.