Outlook: Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine

Health Equity Research in a New Era

Betina Yanez, PhD, EMMH SIG Co-Chair Elect and the EMMH SIG Leadership 

Many of us within the EMMH SIG have been reflecting on the political events that have been unfolding since January 20th. Most recently, the executive order on immigration has left us with heavy emotions as we contemplate its widespread implications. There is no doubt that these political actions have ignited an important dialogue regarding the future of diversity and inclusion in our country. Limiting diversity at all levels of scientific research stymies progress and runs counter to the goal of improving the health of all individuals.

The EMMH SIG considers this a unique time in our nation’s history to elevate the dialogue on health equity and to galvanize our membership to conduct health equity research. As a community of scientists, practitioners, and educators, it is our mission to disseminate evidence-based strategies for the betterment of our society and to ensure that our nation’s policies are driven by facts rather than fear. We encourage our SBM colleagues to continue to weave diversity and inclusion into the fabric of behavioral medicine to increase the impact of our work and ensure the development and implementation of health equity solutions.

Racial and ethnic minority groups are projected to comprise of more than half of the U.S. population by 2050. We believe that this shifting demographic brings new challenges and opportunities to health equity research. We have a responsibility to make sure that all people – regardless of race or ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, income, religion, or disability – have the opportunity to be healthy and achieve maximum well being. With this goal in mind, we must strive for diversity and inclusion at every level of research and training in behavioral medicine.

As we approach the Society for Behavioral Medicine’s annual meeting in San Diego, the EMMH SIG would like to express our continued commitment to an environment of inclusion and diversity by emphasizing and addressing health issues among medically understudied and underserved minority groups. We encourage all members and attendees at this year’s annual meeting to elevate the dialogue on health equity as we strive for greater diversity and inclusion in our workforce and aim for parity in health outcomes.

We have prepared an exciting agenda for this year’s meeting. We are especially enthusiastic about our annual business meeting and co-sponsored symposium on precision medicine. We look forward to seeing you in San Diego!

  1. EMMH 2017 Business meeting

Breakfast Meeting, Thursday March 30, 7am-7:45am, Sapphire I

  1. ConNECTing the Dots: Translating Evidence to Advance Equity in Precision Medicine”

*selected by SBM President Jim Sallis as a featured session (EMMH SIG and the Spirituality and Health SIG),

Symposium, Thursday, March 30, 8am-9:15am, Sapphire A