President's Message: Stoked about SBM 2017 in San Diego
James F. Sallis Jr., PhD, SBM President
My original goal with this column was to try to generate enthusiasm for the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s (SBM’s) 2017 Annual Meeting in San Diego. But I don't need to do that because I have evidence you are already stoked (that's a surfer term). You just submitted a record number of abstracts—nearly 100 more than the previous record! That is an encouraging sign that SBM 2017 will be packed with high-quality science. Given that the conference theme challenges us to "expand horizons in behavioral medicine," we can expect a big emphasis on innovation and creativity in the presentations.
I hope all of you are making plans to attend, even if you did not submit an abstract. Of course, you have one more chance to submit a late-breaking abstract. Rapid poster submissions will open November 3.
To further boost enthusiasm for the meeting, I want to give you an overview of the keynotes, master lectures, and featured symposia. The keynote talks address to some extent my presidential theme of improving the translation of research into action. The opening keynote is Robert Ross, MD, who is president and CEO of The California Endowment. Among other topics, he will present the visionary community-wide interventions they are implementing and evaluating in 11 disadvantaged areas throughout California. Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, is dean of the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. She is an eminent epidemiologist studying health disparities, who translated her research by being featured in a PBS TV series titled, Unnatural Causes. Harold Goldstein, DrPH, is executive director of Public Health Advocates, based in Sacramento, CA. His organization is devoted to research translation. Part of his presentation will provide guidance on making research more relevant to informing the policy process. The closing keynote will be delivered by Tracy Neal-Walden, PhD, who is chief of psychological health for the U.S. Air Force Surgeon General’s Directorate of Healthcare and Research Operations. She will provide an overview of health issues in military and veteran populations, present examples of research translation, and describe opportunities for SBM members to get involved in research and practice with the military community. Given the diversity of the speakers, their experiences, and their topics, I believe we will all learn a great deal from these keynote speakers, and hopefully be inspired and uplifted.
Four stimulating master lectures will also take place. Former SBM President Francis Keefe, PhD, from Duke University, will present a lecture in recognition of his 2016 SBM Distinguished Scientist Award. Kate Lorig, DrPH, from Stanford University, will deliver the Jessie Gruman Award Master Lecture. Frank Penedo, PhD, from Northwestern University, who is also president of the International Society of Behavioral Medicine, will encourage international collaboration as part of his remarks. Marjorie Kagawa-Singer, PhD, MA, MN, RN, FAAN, from the University of California-Los Angeles, will present on understudied Asian American populations.
Featured symposia are still in development, but I can provide some previews. As part of a new Presidential Task Force on Genomics, a symposium will describe why and how behavioral medicine researchers can get involved in genomics research. Innovations in smoking cessation research and models of academic-business partnerships will be described in separate symposia. We will select one of the submitted symposia on health disparities or minority health to be featured. Several excellent collaborations with National Institutes of Health (NIH) colleagues will be featured. The NCI Office of Implementation Science is organizing a symposium to highlight the work of grantees. The National Cancer Institute Team Science Program is leading a symposium that will preview a new book of great relevance to SBM attendees. Another NIH-organized session of interest will be a panel discussion on the new strategic plan for the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.
You might already be thinking it's going to be hard to manage your schedule in San Diego. You are probably right. There will be many appealing sessions competing with each other, so you may want to team up with colleagues, split up among sessions, and share notes later. The Program Committee is going to improve your quality of life at the conference by integrating many opportunities for physical activity throughout the day. When evening comes you will be ready for a walk along the Embarcadero and a good meal with old and new friends at one of the many restaurants in the Gaslamp District or beyond. SBM 2017 may be the best balance yet between a stimulating and productive conference and a memorably pleasant experience. Stay a couple of extra days to explore the zoo, take your family to Sea World, and go to Pacific Beach for a surfing lesson. You'll be stoked. Meeting registration opens November 1.
James F. Sallis Jr., PhD
President, Society of Behavioral Medicine