The Spectrum of Prevention is a systematic tool that promotes a range of activities for effective prevention. It has been used nationally in prevention initiatives for traffic safety, violence prevention, injury prevention, nutrition, and fitness. The Spectrum identifies six levels of intervention (see image below) and helps people move beyond the perception that prevention is merely education. At each level, the most important activities related to prevention objectives are identified. As these activities are identified, they lead to interrelated actions at other levels of the Spectrum. All six levels are complementary and synergistic: when used together, they have a greater effect than would be possible from a single activity or initiative.
Originally developed by Larry Cohen while working as Director of Prevention Programs at the Contra Costa County Health Department, the Spectrum is based on the work of Marshall Swift in treating developmental disabilities.