Investing in Prevention: Standards and Innovation in Economic Evaluation

February 21, 2019
Dr. Crowley

Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Director, Data Accelerator Team
Penn State University

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About the Webinar

Advocates of prevention have long touted its value, but researchers’ success in quantifying the economic benefits of preventive interventions was often limited by fragmented methods and practice. A number of efforts by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Academies, federal agencies, and foundations over the last decade have led to improvements in these methods. Further, innovative techniques for understanding the value of prevention have begun to take root in the research community. This includes recognition that estimates must not only be sound, but also have direct utility for budget writers.

This webinar discusses key standards for economic evaluation as identified by a number of convergent efforts. In particular, the important role of administrative records for mapping the costs and benefits of prevention onto public budgets are discussed. Participants will gain a greater awareness of (1) best practices for economic evaluations of prevention, (2) how to increase utility of estimates for budget making, and (3) opportunities to include economic evaluation in ongoing and new studies.

About Max Crowley

Dr. Max Crowley is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State University and directs the PSU Administrative Data Accelerator. He is a prevention scientist investigating how to optimize investments in healthy development. His work sits at the intersection of developmental science, social policy, and public finance. Dr. Crowley’s program of research is motivated by a desire to increase the use of cost-effective, evidence-based preventive strategies to improve the lives of children and families. To accomplish this, his work aims to (1) strengthen methods for economic evaluations of preventive interventions, (2) optimize prevention strategies’ impact, and (3) develop best practices for how to translate these investments into evidence-based policy. In this manner, he seeks to not only understand the costs and benefits of prevention, but aims to develop better interventions and encourage them to be disseminated widely.

Dr. Crowley translates his work for a wide array of policymakers on issues related to the impact and financing of prevention strategies. Recently this research has identified cost-effective strategies for preventing opioid misuse through investments in schools and families. Dr. Crowley is the Principal Investigator on grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, as well as The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, William T. Grant Foundation, and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Dr. Crowley has received national awards recognizing this scholarship from the NIH, The National Bureau of Economic Research, Society for Prevention Research, Association for Public Policy & Management, Research Society on Alcoholism, and National Prevention Science Coalition.