Prevention and Health Promotion

Prevention and Health Promotion

Marissa Zinker, BA



“The process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. It moves beyond a focus on individual behavior towards a wide range of social and environmental interventions.” – World Health Organization

Prevention and Health Promotion programs focus on keeping people healthy. Health Promotion engages and empowers individuals and communities to engage in healthy behaviors and make changes that reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and other morbidities.

Disease prevention is understood as specific, population-based and individual-based interventions for primary and secondary (early detection) prevention, aiming to minimize the burden of diseases and associated risk factors. Disease prevention focuses on strategies to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and other morbidities.

Unintentional and violence-related injuries cause nearly 180,000 deaths each year, and are the leading cause of death for people age 1 to 44. In addition, millions of people are treated in emergency rooms or hospitalized due to injuries each year. With physical and economic consequences, each year’s injuries lead to estimated lifetime costs of $406 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity.

Injury and disease cross all boundaries and can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex, race or socioeconomic background. While injury and disease have a significant burden, they are also largely preventable. Recognizing the social and economic burden of injury and disease is critical to determine the appropriate level of intervention and investment into prevention activities.

Prevention and Health Promotion programs often address social determinants of health, which influence modifiable risk behaviors. Social determinants of health are the economic, social, cultural, and political conditions, in which people are born, grow and live that affect health status. Modifiable risk behaviors include, for example, tobacco use, prior eating habits, and lack of physical activity, which contribute to the development of chronic disease.

  • Communication: Raising awareness about healthy behaviors for the general public. Examples of communication strategies include public service announcements, health fairs, mass media campaigns, and newsletters.
  • Education: Empowering behavior change and actions through increased knowledge. Examples of education strategies include courses, training, and support groups.
  • Policy: Regulating or mandating activities by organizations or public agencies that encourage healthy decision-making.
  • Environment: Changing structures or environments to make healthy decisions more readily available to large populations.

Lisa Roberts, RN



Rebecca Miller

DFC Assistant

Drug Free Communities

The Drug-Free Communities Support Program (DFC) is a Federal grant program that provides funding to community-based coalitions that organize to prevent youth substance use.  Since the passage of the DFC Act in 1997, the DFC Program has funded more than 2,000 coalitions and currently mobilizes nearly 9,000 community volunteers across the country. The philosophy behind the DFC Program is that local drug problems require local solutions. The primary purpose of the DFC program is to establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, public and private non-profit agencies; as well as federal, state, local, and tribal governments to support the efforts of community coalitions working to prevent and reduce substance use among youth and to reduce substance use among youth and, over time, reduce substance abuse among adults by addressing the factors in a community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse.

Scioto County Drug Action Team Alliance (Coalition)

The Scioto County Drug Action Team Alliance is a community-based coalition designed to bring together community members who are dedicated to building a drug-free community.

The coalition is a community-based formal arrangement for cooperation and collaboration among groups and sectors of the community in which each group retains its identity, but all agree to work together toward a common goal of building a safe, healthy, and drug-free community for all residents of Scioto County.

The coalition meets bi-monthly and works with leaders within the community to identify and address local substance use problems and to create sustainable community-level change through population-based and environmental strategies which reduce the demand for drugs (demand reduction).

The coalition partners with the “Prescription for Community Recovery” program to reduce the burden of unintentional injury and fatal overdose in Scioto County.

The Scioto County Drug Action Team Alliance is a member of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. To learn more about CADCA visit their website at

The Scioto County Drug Action Team Alliance supports the Presidents National Drug Control Strategy, and uses it as a foundation for the implementation of data-driven and evidence-based approaches to the reduction of substance use and abuse at the local level.

Abby Spears

Injury Prevention

In Ohio, the leading cause of death among those age 1 to 44 is injury and/or violence.  Injury and violence related deaths outpace all other causes combined, including heart disease, stroke, and cancer.  As such, Violence and Injury Prevention seeks to prevent and/or mitigate the potential causes and circumstances that can create injury and death.

Reviewing both state and local data highlights that the greatest risk for injury and death arises from substance use disorder, overdose, and subsequent substance use related health issues.  Locally, this data has been analyzed and used to help create targeted strategies and programming specific to our population needs.

The Portsmouth City Health Department and Office of Injury Prevention is committed to strengthening and sustaining effective injury prevention and control measures that reflect the significance of the issues that are present in the community.  The influx of illicit Fentanyl and Fentanyl analogues into communities have had devastating impacts and caused a staggering loss of life.  Recognizing these increased risks, the Portsmouth City Health Department and Office of Injury Prevention has endeavored to increase education, outreach, and harm reduction strategies all aimed at reducing the rate of both fatal and non-fatal overdose.

  • From 1999 to 2012, the number of deaths in Ohio due to unintentional drug overdose increased 485 percent, and the increase has been driven largely by prescription drug overdoses.
  • In Ohio, since 2007, there have been more deaths from drug overdose than from motor vehicle traffic crashes.
  • There were 327 fatal drug overdoses in 1999 and the number grew to 1,914 deaths in 2012.
  • Females represent the fastest growing group at risk for fatal prescription drug overdose.

Understanding that this is larger than the efforts of one agency, the Portsmouth City Health Department’s Office of Injury Prevention has sought out community, state, and federal partners to collaborate to ensure that comprehensive and innovative solutions are being implemented.  Currently, the Portsmouth City Health Department and Office of Injury Prevention can count among its many collaborative partners the Ohio Department of Health, Scioto County Collaborative Opioid Consortium, Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve University, Shawnee State University, Appalachian Regional Commission, the ADAMHS Board of Adams, Lawrence, and Scioto Counties, the Scioto County Health Coalition, Faith in Public Life, many faith leaders and churches, multiple criminal justice and law enforcement agencies and representatives, treatment facilities, local businesses, and private citizens.  It is through this collective response that the greatest impact is provided.

The Office of Injury Prevention at the Portsmouth City Health Department is funded by the Ohio Department of Health, Violence and Injury Prevention Section through the Injury Prevention: Drug Overdose Prevention grant.  As a part of this grant, the Office of Injury Prevention has also been able to join the Ohio Injury Prevention Partnership (OIPP) and the Ohio Overdose Prevention Network (OOPN) and the state Harm Reduction Subcommittee. This grant and the connections made through these affiliations have been instrumental in reducing the burden of risk throughout the community and the related injury and violence associated with that burden.

The Portsmouth City Health Department is committed to strengthening and sustaining effective injury prevention and control measures that reflect the significance of the problem. We strive to reduce prescription drug overdose rates through campaigns and programs such as Project DAWN: Deaths Avoided With Naloxone, Prescription for Prevention: Stop the Epidemic, and Prescription for Recovery.

Project DAWN – Deaths Avoided with Naloxone is a community-based Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution Program the seeks to increase the utilization and access to the life-saving overdose reversal drug Naloxone in the community setting, Project DAWN of Scioto County has presented at numerous state conferences and assisted the Project DAWN Programs that have since expanded across Ohio with programmatic set-up and program logistics. We offer Naloxone kits and education to community members and agencies.

Prescription for Prevention – Stop the Epidemic is a campaign developed by the Ohio Department of Health and implemented by Portsmouth City Health Department to raise awareness of the epidemic of prescription drug abuse and overdose. The focus of the program is to educate the community on what you can do to make your community a safe place, for example, how to safely dispose of medication.

Prescription for Community Recovery was funded by the Ohio Department of Health from 2010-2018, this Project worked to reduce the burden of Unintentional Overdose in Scioto County using a population-based approach that uses a combination of policy, systems change, education, and environmental responses designed to reduce factors which contribute to the incidence of overdose. This Project collaborated with numerous prescribers and pharmacies to increase access to Naloxone to patients at risk of overdose and to reduce the overprescribing of prescription opioids through medical education and promotion of “Ohio’s Opioid and Other Controlled Substance Prescribing Guidelines.”

We work in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Health, Scioto County Drug Action Team Alliance, Appalachian Regional ADAMHS (Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Services) Boards, local law enforcement, treatment facilities, and many local businesses that choose to be a part of the solution to the prescription drug problem. Through these collaborations and programs, we hope to reduce injury rates and make our community a safer place.

Please contact Marissa Wicker, Prevention and Promotion Director for more information at (740) 354-8944.

Sarah Stenger

Data Coordinator



Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) is a community-driven strategic planning process for improving community health. Facilitated by public health leaders, this framework helps communities apply strategic thinking to prioritize public health issues and identify resources to address them. MAPP is not an agency-focused assessment process; rather, it is an interactive process that can improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and ultimately the performance of local public health systems. Utilizing the MAPP framework will ensure that Scioto County and Portsmouth City can produce a comprehensive and valuable Community Health Assessment (CHA) and Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP).


Comprehensive data collection is the primary force behind completing the CHA/CHIP. A series of assessments helps to identify needs, barriers, and overall health themes. Each assessment yields important information for improving community health, but the value of the four MAPP Assessments is multiplied by considering the findings as a whole. Disregarding any of the assessments will leave participants with an incomplete understanding of the factors that affect the local public health system and, ultimately, the health of the community.