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Child and Family Health SIG Update

Bernard Fuemmeler, PhD, MPH, Duke University Medical Center, Child and Family Health SIG chair; Danielle Wishenka, MA, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Child and Family Health SIG Outlook liaison; and Maija Taylor, MA, Bowling Green State University, Child and Family Health SIG student member

As we ready ourselves to embark on the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM's) 37th Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions in Washington, DC, we are reminded of one its famous citizen's remarks: "It's easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." What Frederick Douglass believed to be true is now being proven by behavioral and social scientists. It is becoming increasingly clear that there are sensitive periods of human development that have the potential to impart long-term health consequences. Economic modeling shows that we can expect a greater return on investment when money is spent on early education programs than on remedial programs for adolescents and adults. New science on epigenetics shows that exposures and experiences during prenatal and early life can shape the ways in which our genes function, which ultimately affects behavior and health over the life-course. Translational neuroscience also shows how early childhood adversity and stress can have long-term consequences on the development of neural structures and networks relevant to mood and addiction. Thus, whether your interest is in translating behavioral medicine research into interventions, or the basic behavioral factors that contribute to chronic disease, there is never a better time to be a behavioral scientist with an expertise in child health.

If your research and practice intersects with the health and well-being of children, adolescents, and families, then the Child and Family Health (CFH) SIG is your place at the SBM. We anticipate a productive conference this year with several presentations where CFH topics are represented. Our SIG plans to compile a full list ahead of the conference and will distribute it via the CFH SIG listserv.

Be sure to attend the CFH SIG's midday business meeting and social event on Thursday, March 31, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. The CFH SIG Student Award and the Professional Award for Outstanding Research in Child and Family Health will be presented to April Bowling, MA, and Robert L. Newton Jr., PhD, respectively. Awardees are selected based on a blinded review of abstracts accepted for presentation as a paper or poster in a given year. These awards highlight examples of excellence in research conducted by those in our field. During the midday meeting we will also host Tonya M. Palermo, PhD, from Seattle Children's Research Institute, who will receive our annual award for Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Child and Family Health and deliver our annual invited address. The title of Dr. Palermo's talk is "Using Technology to Deliver Chronic Pain Self-Management Interventions to Children and Adolescents." The CFH SIG midday meeting promises to be an exciting opportunity to network and catch up on the latest happenings of the SIG. We welcome all who are interested, so please join us!

This year has been a productive one for our SIG and its members. Susmita Kashikar-Zuck, PhD, was recently appointed to serve as a member of the Advisory Council of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the National Institutes of Health. Along with the Obesity and Eating Disorders SIG, CFH SIG members helped prepare a response to the World Health Organization's request for information on the Interim Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. We also led a response to the National Institutes of Health request for information on the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program. In addition, members of our SIG have co-authored a paper on emerging issues in child and family health that was submitted with other SIGs for a special issue.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the CFH SIG, please contact Erica Linc, program manager for SBM, at elinc@sbm.org. SIG members are also welcome to submit ideas and suggestions for SIG-related activities through our listserv: childfamily_sig@list.sbm.org. For more information, check us out online at http://www.sbm.org/sig/child_family/. Also, please feel free to contact Bernard Fuemmeler, PhD, MPH, at bernard.fuemeler@duke.edu, or Nataliya Zelikovsky, PhD, at zelikovsky@lasalle.edu, if you are interested in becoming more involved in the SIG or would like additional information.

 

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