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Office of Prevention Services improvements support students, address evolving public health needs
Office of Prevention Services improvements support students, address evolving public health needsJanuary 08, 2008Matthew R. Snydermrsnyder@syr.edu
The Office of Prevention Services (OPS), a principal unit of Syracuse University’s Division of Student Affairs, has announced a number of structural improvements. These changes enhance the office’s comprehensive, environmental-management approach to prevention of sexual violence and alcohol and other drug (AOD) abuse. The work of the unit has been refocused on harm reduction and prevention, while maintaining previously existing advocacy, support and intervention services for individual students.
The realignment, effective Jan. 7, involves the creation of new positions, redeployment of current staff members, and two job eliminations.
In the new structure, staff focus their efforts at the individual level (intervening with students in crisis), the interpersonal level (collaborating with groups of students to create informed, healthy communities), or the environmental level (working on prevention efforts involving teams of collaborators from across campus and beyond). This social ecological model for prevention, harm reduction and intervention activities explicitly acknowledges the linkages among environmental factors and individual decision-making processes that lead to AOD abuse and related violence.
The new administrative structure is headed by Sarah M. Mart, director, who provides strategic guidance and serves as the University’s point person on violence and AOD issues. Reporting to Mart is the new position of assistant director, with responsibility for University-wide sexual violence and AOD prevention initiatives, as well as assessment efforts. The assistant directorship will be filled following a national search.
Mart and the assistant director oversee a team of staff members in the newly created position of prevention specialist. Some of these positions are filled by staff members who previously served in other roles; others will be the subject of national searches:
- A staff member with the title of prevention specialist will facilitate individual-level interventions and risk and behavioral screening in the area of AOD prevention.
- Another prevention specialist will be responsible for individual-level interventions, advocacy, and support for victims of sexual violence; the recruitment and training of crisis response volunteers in collaboration with Vera House Inc.; and events such as Take Back the Night.
- A third prevention specialist will facilitate collaborations such as Mentors in Violence Prevention; student initiatives such as peer education groups; and other interpersonal-level trainings in the areas of AOD and sexual violence prevention.
- The fourth prevention specialist will focus on work at the environmental level, with responsibility for staff and faculty training, social marketing campaigns, population-level risk assessment efforts, and outreach and collaboration across campus and beyond to create a culture of prevention of AOD and violence-related harm.
For job descriptions and application information related to the open positions, visit http://sujobopps.com.
This realignment realizes the University’s vision for the 2006 creation of OPS, which merged student support and intervention programs in the areas of sexual violence and AOD abuse, previously known as the R.A.P.E. Center and the S.A.P.H.E. Program, respectively. Mart was appointed director of OPS in 2007. Since joining SU from the University of San Francisco, Mart has led efforts to implement the Division of Student Affairs’ award-winning Twelve Point Plan for Substance Abuse Prevention and Health Enhancement, and has continued to strengthen existing relationships among OPS, Vera House Inc., the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program, the Syracuse Area College Community Coalition against Alcohol Abuse, the Syracuse/Onondaga Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission and other entities with expertise in prevention.