Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Fellows Program

  • Agency:
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Office:
    The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP)
  • Solution:
    Synergy provides comprehensive technical assistance for all aspects of the Fellows Program—from recruitment through mentor-matching, logistics, credentialing, and state-level support for prevention specialists.

Synergy's Approach

A major aim of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), an office within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is to develop a highly trained workforce of prevention specialists. These professionals promote the public health of populations at the federal, state, and local levels. The CSAP Fellows Program (CFP) is a 2-year experience during which fellows are expected to accomplish a core set of well-defined assignments that involve them in direct, hands-on prevention services at the state agency level.

Synergy has been the technical assistance and training (TA/T) contractor supporting the CFP for 7 years, preparing fellows to obtain an International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (ICRC) certification as a Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist professional. We design and implement web-based and face-to-face training in areas such as communication, health education and promotion, epidemiology, social marketing, cultural competency, and other courses relevant to prevention certification. The trainings and weekly exposure at state agencies equips fellows for the Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS) exam and helps interns strengthen their knowledge in the field of prevention.

Synergy also provides program coordination support for meetings, conferences, and webinars; develops TA/T materials; writes and produces the CFP newsletter; coordinates social media; and evaluates program effectiveness.

An important aspect of Synergy’s support for the CFP entails maintaining an online web application with cumulative qualitative and quantitative data for all trainings. We use this data and other sources of information to prepare an annual report that includes demographics of the current fellowship cohorts, data from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)–approved annual fellowship survey and OMB-approved annual alumni feedback survey, and cumulative CPS exam results. These items provide the program with valuable outcome data for SAMHSA officials so they can implement policy changes if needed.

Synergy has assisted with the preparation, review, and submission of the OMB survey packet and assisted SAMHSA in obtaining OMB approvals for data evaluation forms, the annual fellowship survey, and the annual alumni feedback survey.