Apr 272017

October 2016 – The Policy & Research Group (PRG) has been selected as the external evaluator for Odyssey House Louisiana’s (OHL) three-year grant program entitled the Peer Prevention Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The Peer Prevention Program aims to develop targeted education and awareness programs, social marketing campaigns, and HIV and viral hepatitis (VH) testing services in non-traditional settings, with substance abuse and HIV prevention programming for traditionally under-served populations. The goal is to develop and implement culturally appropriate substance abuse/HIV/AIDS and VH prevention strategies that can effectively reach minority youth in their natural environments. In addition, the program aims to increase community capacity for substance abuse, HIV and VH prevention services through infrastructure-building activities. Lastly, the Peer Prevention Program is designed to provide residential substance abuse treatment that utilizes evidence-based practices to any program participant or participant family member in need of substance abuse/behavioral health treatment.

The Peer Prevention Program is funded through SAMHSA’s Capacity Building Initiative for Substance Abuse (SA) and HIV Prevention Services for At-Risk Racial/Ethnic Minority Youth and Young Adults (HIV CBI), and it aims to support an array of activities to assist grantees in building a solid foundation for delivering and sustaining quality and accessible state-of-the-science substance abuse and HIV prevention services. PRG is conducting a program implementation and pre-post client-level outcome evaluation of the program, collecting data on program activities.

SAMHSA works to advance behavioral health in the United States by reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness. Through the HIV CBI program, SAMHSA has provided funding to awardees’ that provide substance use treatment and HIV services for at-risk populations ages 13-24, including racial/ethnic minority youth and young adults.

In collaboration with OHL, PRG will formalize implementation objectives and anticipated client-level outcomes. The evaluation will then assess the progress of the implementation and realized client outcomes against those specified in the plan. With this structured, formative approach, PRG aims to help OHL with its mission to bring the healing process of addiction recovery to all members of the community using a research-based approach. PRG will produce implementation reports on a semi-annual basis that will allow OHL leadership observe how the intervention is realizing its implementation objectives on an ongoing basis. PRG will also report annually to OHL leaders a more comprehensive account of the initiative’s implementation as well as a descriptive account of client-level outcomes targeted by the program.

PRG is committed to the development of effective public policy through the production of rigorous research and evaluation. PRG works with federal, state, and local partners in the development and evaluation of programs that aim to improve social, behavioral, health, economic, and employment potential. Since 2004, PRG has developed expertise across an array of policy areas including education, public health, child welfare, work and income, housing, and adolescent risk reduction.