Civic and Public Engagement Committee

The Civic and Public Engagement Committee (CPEC) communicates the policy impact of behavioral medicine to SBM members, the public, media, policymakers, professional organizations, and others. The committee monitors the health policy environment to identify opportunities for endorsing and/or advocating for policies or policy changes that are congruent with the mission and vision of SBM. Activities include hosting informational sessions and publishing position statements, journal articles, opinion pieces, letters to editors, and blogs.

Key Policy Issues
Published Papers

Visit our Supporting Policy Page to find out how you can support behavioral medicine policies by contacting your legislators.


Key Policy Issues

Increase NIH Funding

SBM and CPEC have called on Congress to support behavioral, social science, and medical research and to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH budget must grow at a predictable, robust pace through annual budget increases at least comparable to the biomedical inflation rate. NIH-funded research has impacted all our lives by enhancing public health; lengthening and improving quality of life; reducing the burden of illness and disability; and most importantly, saving lives. In spite of that impact, the NIH lost nearly $6 billion, or 20%, in purchasing power in the last decade because funding did not keep pace with the rate of biomedical inflation. This hinders the NIH’s ability to fund lifesaving research at a sustained pace.

NIH Funding
                                    Table from the Center for American Progress.

Ban Indoor Tanning for Minors

SBM and CPEC support a total ban on indoor tanning for minors under the age of 18. Artificial sources of ultraviolet radiation are in the highest category of carcinogens, joining tobacco and asbestos. Strong evidence links indoor tanning to increased risk for melanoma with repeated exposure during childhood being associated with the greatest increase in risk. We strongly encourage U.S. states to ban indoor tanning for minors.

Make Behavior Therapy for Obesity Reimbursable

SBM and CPEC support having behavior therapy for obesity be a reimbursable health care service. In 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a decision to cover intensive behavior therapy for obesity in the primary care setting. SBM supports that decision but suggests modifications to include providers who have expertise in weight control (e.g., psychologists and dietitians) and to expand treatment time to better match protocols with confirmed efficacy.