A pri­ma­ry goal of the Mis­souri Pre­ven­tion Sci­ence Insti­tute is to pre­pare pre­ven­tion sci­en­tists and school and com­mu­ni­ty clin­i­cians to be cul­tur­al­ly respon­sive and proac­tive prac­ti­tion­ers and schol­ars. We define cul­ture as a way of think­ing, act­ing, and feel­ing shared by a group of peo­ple. Cul­tur­al­ly respon­sive prac­tice and schol­ar­ship require inves­ti­ga­tion and aware­ness of one’s own cul­ture and bias­es, and it val­ues and val­i­dates the cul­tur­al back­grounds of diverse stu­dents, fam­i­lies, teach­ers, and all oth­er per­son­nel with whom we inter­act. Many aspects of cul­ture, which have been linked to youth social, emo­tion­al, and aca­d­e­m­ic out­comes, are exam­ined through­out our research and out­reach, includ­ing but not lim­it­ed to gen­der, race and eth­nic­i­ty, socioe­co­nom­ic sta­tus, dis­abil­i­ty sta­tus, sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, reli­gious affil­i­a­tion, and nation­al origin.

On the one hand, we believe that many aspects of nur­tur­ing and effec­tive home and school envi­ron­ments are uni­ver­sal, or near­ly so. Much of our work focus­es on ensur­ing all youth have access to these types of envi­ron­ments at home and school and in the com­mu­ni­ty. On the oth­er hand, we rec­og­nize that some aspects of nur­tur­ing and effec­tive envi­ron­ments are cul­ture-depen­dent and that these cul­ture-spe­cif­ic dimen­sions are often invis­i­ble in dom­i­nant cul­ture research and train­ing pro­grams. We believe that inten­tion­al, sys­tem­at­ic, and repeat­ed efforts are need­ed to iden­ti­fy and become mind­ful of these hid­den cul­tur­al dimen­sions. To over­come this ten­den­cy and bias to ignore the cul­ture-depen­dent aspects of nur­tur­ing envi­ron­ments and effec­tive inter­ven­tions, we expect MPSI fac­ul­ty, stu­dents, and staff to seek out and par­tic­i­pate in cul­tur­al expe­ri­ences (such as course­work, com­mu­ni­ty involve­ment, work­shops, train­ing, and lec­tures) through­out their edu­ca­tion and career. We expect MPSI affil­i­ates to con­tin­u­al­ly reflect on their own bias­es and to pur­sue the expand­ing and chal­leng­ing of their own cul­tur­al com­fort zones. Fur­ther­more, as an Insti­tute we com­mit to tak­ing action against and reject­ing big­otry, dis­crim­i­na­tion, vio­lence, or intim­i­da­tion of any kind.