Joining the Strategic Prevention Solutions team in 2014 as a Research Associate, Lexi Prunella is now the Evaluation and Planning Director and a Senior Research Associate. She is passionate about adolescent health, and she enjoys being involved in projects that empower youth to take on leadership roles in their community and have their voice heard.
Since she was a young girl, Lexi wanted to “be in a helping role,” but it was also important to her to have the freedom to explore different arenas. Something she appreciates about working at SPS is the ability to work on projects at multiple levels—local, community, state and tribal—across a variety of sectors.
Shifting prevention work from individual to societal level
Over the last 10 years, Lexi has seen the focus of prevention work shift from the individual level to the societal level. She emphasized the importance of systems change in supporting public health and reducing risk factors for communities.
“It’s been great to see more funding that’s focusing on that outer layer of prevention work,” Lexi says. She would love for her efforts to continue to support communities to harness their power and capacity to transform community health and wellness.
'Intentional and sustainable growth'
When asked about SPS’ accomplishments, Lexi says “it’s hard to pick just one thing after working here for seven years, but I would say one main accomplishment would be our intentional and sustainable growth and our reach throughout the nation.”
In contemplating what the next decade might hold, Lexi talked about continuing to uphold SPS values of diversity, equity and inclusion, both within the company and with clients and partners. She's excited to see the potential expansion into other health arenas, specifically in the fields of sex education and healthy sexuality across the lifetime.
Though it is important work, Lexi acknowledged that some of the serious health issues and violence being addressed in prevention work can weigh on folks saturated in the efforts, so self-care and boundaries are important.
“All my work has been driven by passion. But, you can lose yourself in the work, so it’s necessary to be mindful of the work-life balance and take the trauma-informed approaches we bring to work and apply them to our own self-care," Lexi says.
Books, family history, crafts and cake
Lexi enjoys reading and she recently finished re-reading Richard Farrell’s What’s Left of Us, a book that helps her reflect on the power of human resilience. Some of Lexi‘s other hobbies include researching her family’s Hungarian and Scandinavian history and doing crafts with her 18-month-old nephew, which sometimes includes building magnet structures after he has gone to bed and can no longer knock down her beautiful creations.
When asked about her favorite type of pie, Lexi did not hesitate: “Cake!” Lexi is fairly certain she wants to own a dog at some point in the future, but until that day comes, she’s content to carry around dog treats in the event she comes across “a good boi who needs a snack.”