The core of my interests is to promote adolescent competence and well-being through actionable translation of prevention science, and development of state and community-level infrastructure and capacity for prevention. At the EPISCenter we are actively engaged in working with state policymakers, program developers, and community implementers. Across these groups we identify barriers to successful implementation, dissemination, and sustainability of evidence-based programs across Pennsylvania. As we identify barriers, we develop solutions to dissolve them. This includes building connections and facilitating communication between stakeholders, establishing in-state mechanisms for supporting program implementation, and developing resources and trainings to support increased capacity for evidence-based programs and practice.
In 2008, the EPISCenter was founded by Brian Bumbarger, Assistant Director for Knowledge Translation and Dissemination at the Prevention Research Center at PSU. Funding was provided through a four-year grant by the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW). Through Brian's persistence and advocacy for prevention infrastructure the EPISCenter has been identified as an innovative model for the support and dissemination of proven effective programs. This model has received a high level of interest from state, national, and international policymakers and foundations. In 2012, EPISCenter received its second four-year grant from PCCD & DPW which added an initiative to support improvement of juvenile justice programs, in addition to existing initiatives to support community prevention coalitions and evidence-based programs.
In November 2013 I took on the role of Managing Director of the EPISCenter. In this role, I will focus on a few key areas to expand the development and visibility of EPIS as an intermediary organization in the Commonwealth. One, across EPIS initiative areas (coalitions, evidence-based programs, juvenile justice), we are increasingly working in the same communities, therefore we are aiming to consolidate and synergize our approach to working in these communities. Two, we will begin to strengthen our work in dissemination and sustainability through reaching new audiences with the "message" of proven effective programs and establishing more community-level partnerships engaged in complementary work. Three, we will be contributing to workforce development opportunities through PSU undergraduate and graduate student opportunities, as well as building other applied experiential and educational opportunities for students and community members interested in expanding their expertise in prevention.