Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER)


Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER) is a prevention services delivery system that links land-grant university researchers and experts with community organizations to develop and support youth substance abuse prevention programming, including prescription drug misuse and abuse programs. PROSPER is not a specific prevention strategy; rather, it is a process designed to improve the quality of community-implemented strategies.


To improve the quality and fidelity of community-implemented evidence-based prevention programs

Typical Elements

The PROSPER system is implemented in four stages: initial organization, initial operations, ongoing operations, and long-term stability.

  • Eight to 10 community members form a community team, which is co-led by a county-based member from a land-grant university system’s cooperative extension program and a representative from the local school district (PROSPER Partnerships, n.d.).

    • The team leaders are expected to spend 25–30% of their full-time work responsibilities on community team activities.
    • The community team should include members who represent a diverse cross-section of the community, including healthcare providers, social service providers, and representatives from law enforcement, parent and youth groups, businesses, and faith-based organizations.
      • Note: Factors influencing the success of community teams include the rates of community poverty, and perceptions of community readiness; therefore, in low resource and ready communities, greater focus may need to be given to building capacity by increasing team building and cross-agency understanding prior to moving into implementation (Greenberg, Feinberg, Meyer-Chilenski, Spoth, & Redmond, 2007).
  • The State Management Team, comprising of Extension administrators and university faculty, is led by a State Partnership Director, who is supported by land-grant university prevention researchers and experts who coordinate PROSPER implementation across the state (PROSPER Partnerships, n.d.). This team does the following:
    • Communicates the most recent prevention research findings and other information to prevention coordinators
    • Develops community team action plans, based on information provided by prevention coordinators
    • Engages with state-level agencies to further support prevention programming
    • Oversees evaluations at all levels of the system
    • Receives technical assistance and expert support from the National Network Team (see below)
  • The land-grant university system hires an expert prevention coordinator, who receives oversight and coordination support from the State Management Team. The coordinator’s responsibilities include the following (PROSPER Partnerships, n.d.):
    • Attending community team meetings, and providing support as necessary
    • Holding bi-weekly meetings with the community team co-leaders
    • Maintaining regular contact with other prevention coordinators to share information and best practices
    • Organizing training and professional development activities for community team members
    • Providing specific technical assistance to community teams on planning, recruiting for, and implementing the family-focused and school-based programs (see below), maintaining productivity, and securing sustained funding for the programs
    • Facilitating the flow of information between the community team and the State Management Team by attending regular meetings with the State Management Team to report on community team activities and progress
  • A National Network Team consists of trainers, technical assistance providers, prevention scientists, and evaluation specialists who coach and support the State Management Team. The National Network Team is established to address four key goals, set in conjunction with federal funding partners (PROSPER Partnerships, n.d.):
    • Learn how to identify state land-grant university systems that have the capacity and ability to adopt PROSPER
    • Learn how to work with adoption-ready state systems to build the infrastructure necessary for successful implementation
    • Learn the most effective ways to implement PROSPER at the community level
    • Develop a team capable of providing ongoing training and technical assistance to State Management Teams
  • From a “menu” of pre-approved evidence-based programs (EBPs), one family-focused EBP, targeting sixth-graders, and one school-based EBP, targeting seventh-graders, is selected and implemented by the community (Spoth, Guyll, Redmond, Greenberg, & Feinberg, 2011).
    • Note: Family-focused programs implemented in PROSPER evaluation studies include the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10–14, and Guiding Good Choices. School-based programs include All Stars, LifeSkills Training, and Lions Quest.
    • Families are recruited to participate in the family-focused program
    • The implementation of both programs is monitored with support from land-grant university researchers
    • Funds are raised to support the programs’ implementation by the Community Team
    • The prevention coordinator offers technical support
      • Note: The National Network Team works with states to build their infrastructure as needed to support implementation of the EBP that is most appropriate for their community.
  • Community team’s work with the State Management Team, through the prevention coordinators, to ensure that two primary sustainability goals are met annually: (1) sustaining the growth and quality of the EBPs, and (2) sustaining each well-functioning community team.
    • Note: As of March 2015, PROSPER had not developed an open system to initiate implementation of its model in all states. Its initial land-grant university systems were specifically selected to participate in the pilot program, while additional land-grant university systems applied to participate through a one-time National Institutes of Health funding opportunity (PROSPER Partnerships, n.d.).


Youth, families, schools, the community at large


  • Using a randomized controlled trial study, follow-up data six years after program exposure showed that participating youth had a lifetime prescription drug misuse rate of 27.3%, compared to 32.2% among non-participating youth (Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, 2014).
  • Using a randomized controlled trial study, follow-up data 18 months after program exposure showed that participating youth were significantly less likely to initiate any form of substance abuse, compared to non-participating youth (Spoth et al., 2007).
  • PROSPER has been linked to communities maintaining an ongoing adherence rate to EBP models that is near 90% (Spoth et al., 2011).


All Stars. 

Guiding Good Choices

LifeSkills Training. 

Lions Quest

PROSPER Partnerships: We’ve got prevention down to a science

Strengthening Families Program

Acknowledged by

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Grant DP 002279.

National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Grant DA 028879.


Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy. (2014). Top tier evidence initiative: Evidence summary for Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER). Retrieved from

Greenberg, M. T., Feinberg, M. E., Meyer-Chilenski, S., Spoth, R. L., & Redmond, C. (2007). Community and team member factors that influence the early phase functioning of community prevention teams. Journal of Primary Prevention, 28(6), 485–504. Retrieved from

PROSPER Partnerships. (n.d.). How it works. Retrieved from

Spoth, R., Guyll, M., Redmond, C., Greenberg, M., & Feinberg, M. (2011). Six-year sustainability of evidence-based intervention implementation quality by community-university partnerships: The PROSPER study. American Journal of Community Psychology, 48(0), 412–425. Retrieved from

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 Prevention Medicine, 32(5), 395–402. Retrieved from