Prevention Institute

221 Oak Street
Oakland, CA 94607

Prevention Institute is a nonprofit national centre dedicated to improving community health and equity through effective primary prevention: taking action to build resilience and to prevent problems before they occur. Prevention Institute's work is characterized by a strong commitment to community participation and promotion of equitable health outcomes, with a focus on health reform, preventing violence, injury reduction and traffic safety, mental health, and healthy eating and activity-related chronic disease prevention. Prevention Institute promotes quality prevention and provides tools and training to communities, policymakers, academics, funders, and coalitions in adopting prevention-oriented approaches to reduce the burden of injury and disease and to foster equity and health.

Prevention Institute emphasizes prevention of violence in the first place and helped to define violence as a preventable, public health issue. Prevention Institute focuses on the underlying factors and systems that create and perpetuate violence and injury to shift norms, build resilience, and increase the effectiveness of prevention efforts in these areas. Through collaboration across sectors, Prevention Institute develops population-level approaches to create systematic, comprehensive strategies that alter community conditions. Prevention Institute co-chairs Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth through Violence Prevention (UNITY), an initiative designed to strengthen and support cities in the United States of America in preventing violence and to help sustain these efforts. UNITY is a partnership of Prevention Institute, Harvard School of Public Health, and the Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center (SCIPRC) at UCLA School of the Public Health, and is supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). UNITY is part of CDC’s national youth violence prevention initiative, Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere (STRYVE), and funded in part by a grant from The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF).

VPA focal persons

Larry Cohen
Executive Director
Tel: +01 510 444 7738

Larry Cohen is founder and Executive Director of Prevention Institute. With an emphasis on health equity, Larry has led many successful public health efforts at the local, state, and federal level on injury and violence prevention, mental health, transportation and health, and food and physical activity-related chronic disease prevention. Larry has advanced a deeper understanding of how social determinants shape health outcomes and Prevention Institute has successfully led state and national efforts to incorporate a focus on and investment in primary prevention as a significant part of health care reform and stimulus funding for communities. Larry helped to define violence as preventable and developed one of the nation's first courses on violence prevention. Prior to founding Prevention Institute in 1997, Larry formed the first U.S. coalition to change tobacco policy and created the nation's first multi-city smoking ban. He established the Food and Nutrition Policy Consortium, which catalyzed the nation's food labeling law. Larry also helped shape vehicle safety policy, including strategy to secure passage of bicycle and motorcycle helmet laws, and strengthen child and adult passenger restraint laws. Larry has received numerous awards, including the Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section Public Service Award from the American Public Health Association.

Rachel Davis, MSW
Managing Director
Tel: +01 510 444 7738

For more than ten years, Rachel has overseen the development and implementation of Prevention Institute’s projects related to community health and reducing disparities, health care reform, violence prevention, and mental health. In addition, she develops community tools, provides consulting and training for various community and government organizations, and advances the conceptual work of the organization. Rachel currently serves as Project Director for UNITY. Previously, Rachel facilitated a statewide interagency violence prevention partnership in California's state government; evaluated community-wide violence prevention efforts; co-taught a violence prevention graduate course in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley; and contributed to the Partnerships for Preventing Violence satellite training series through research, script development, facilitator training, and project management. She has also facilitated strategic planning processes resulting in Oxnard, CA’s Strategic Action Framework for Empowered, Thriving Youth (SAFETY) BluePrint, the Alameda County Violence Prevention Blueprint and workplan, Culitvating Peace in Salinas, CA, and San Mateo County’s Primary Prevention Framework for Behavioral Health. Rachel speaks and consults around the country on preventing violence affecting youth, primary prevention and violence against women, child abuse prevention, community health and health equity, and the economics of prevention. Ms. Davis received her M.S.W. from the U.C. Berkeley School of Social Welfare with a specialization in direct service with children and families.