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Ethics in leadership meeting
Class Highlight – Ethics in Leadership
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What Can You Do with a Prevention Science Degree?

prevention science graduate leading support meeting

Everyone is affected by substance abuse issues, either personally, in the family or in the community. And we all pay the price—substance use costs us more than $700 billion per year in increased health care costs, crime and lost productivity.

As they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” especially when it comes to addiction and the health and social problems it creates.

A prevention science degree can prepare you with the skills and knowledge necessary to help others fight addiction and address the social problems facing today’s at-risk and vulnerable groups.

“Prevention is the most cost-effective strategy to address the problem,” said Julie Stevens, a professor in the OU College of Liberal Studies Master of Prevention Science program. “Even more effective than treatment, and certainly more effective than incarceration.”

A prevention science degree opens the door to a wide variety of opportunities. CLS professor Joe Wiese, who helped develop the CLS Master of Prevention Science program, said since admitting student candidates seven years ago, he’s seen prevention science graduates become prevention specialists, nurses, teachers, case workers, treatment counselors, behavioral health workers, public health workers and the list goes on.

“Though the Master of Prevention Science was designed for application to substance use and abuse, it’s applicable and transferable to many other needs,” he said.

Careers that might go hand-in-hand with a prevention science degree include jobs in human and social services, health and educational organizations, prevention centers, government agencies, nonprofit research centers and behavioral health.

Careers that might go hand-in-hand with a prevention science degree include jobs in human and social services, health and educational organizations, prevention centers, government agencies, nonprofit research centers and behavioral health.

Careers also extend beyond substance use and abuse and into other public health areas, including mental health, abuse and teen pregnancy.

“Prevention specialists can also serve in the arena of politics, advocating for policy that promotes health and prevents substance abuse,” Stevens said. “My MPS students primarily are working in a field that holds personal interest for them. Many work with Native populations, or students, or community coalitions. All of them are trying to make a positive change in our schools, families and communities.”

With a growing need for prevention services, trained professionals will be needed at all levels, including communities, schools, local and state government and other public health entities.

“Research consistently indicates as ‘perception of risk and harm decrease, use always increases.’ In the recent Surgeon General’s Report on Substance Use and Abuse, prevention and the need for long-term action was moved to the forefront of the discussion,” Wiese said. “There is an ever-increasing need for trained professionals to provide leadership, expertise and knowledge to the public health field.”

Learn more about our Master of Prevention Science and how you can use it to further your career.

Tami Althoff
Tami Althoff holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is a reporter with more than 20 years’ experience working for newspapers, including The Oklahoman. She has covered everything from breaking news to local music and art. She loves sports, especially OU football and basketball games, where she often embarrasses her children by yelling too loudly.

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