On September 3, 2009, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Maryland Governor’s Office for Children, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation hosted a meeting at the Johns Hopkins Mt. Washington Conference Center, Connecting the DOTS: Promoting Positive Mental health and Youth Development and Preventing Mental Disorders, Substance Abuse, and Youth Violence by Increasing the Synergy of Efforts. The meeting was convened to determine how federal agencies, states, and local communities are implementing and sustaining effective policies and practices and also to identify barriers overcome and/or encountered in these efforts. The meeting was attended by more 100 individuals including federal agencies, state and local policy makers, and academic researchers.
The Connecting the Dots meeting was precipitated by (1) changes in federal policies that are creating opportunities for states and local communities to more effectively implement prevention and asset development strategies and (2) by recent Institute of Medicine reports, Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Youth (IOM 2009a) and Depression in Parents, Parenting, and Children Opportunities to Improve Identification, Treatment, and Prevention (IOM 2009b) that document that many effective policies, practices, and strategies for reducing drug use, mental health problems and violence in youth exist. Unfortunately these programs and strategies currently benefit relatively few children, youth, and families in the U.S.
Not only are relatively few children, youth, and families benefiting for our extensive knowledge of how to prevent drug use, youth violence, academic failure, and mental health problems but many existing policies and procedures are not even consistent with scientific evidence or effective administrative practices. Much of our nation’s lack of infrastructure stems from a lack of synergy of federal policies and procedure. With little coordination of efforts and the creating of many unrelated funding initiatives, the federal government supports an enormous number of disciplinary and programmatic silos that once created frequently impede the wide scale implementation and sustaining of effective practices.
Philip J. Leaf, Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Director, JHSPH Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence
C. Hendricks Brown, University of Miami
Patti Chamberlain, Center for Research to Practice
Jeanne Poduska, American Institute for Research
Peter Wyman, University of Rochester
Mark T. Greenberg, Bennett Chair Of Prevention Science
Prevention Research Center, Pennsylvania State University
National Research Councel and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
The National Academies, Advisors to the Nation on Science, Engineering and Medicine
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