Key Policy Issues

SBM advances evidence-based health policy through our Health Policy Council Ambassador Program. The purpose of the Health Policy Ambassadors is to help SBM—and our members’ evidence-based science—move from being a visitor in lawmakers’ offices to being an integral part of lawmakers’ decision-making through regular contact and relationship building. Ambassadors are experts on a specific issue and/or live in the relevant policymaker’s district. Ambassadors build relationships with these policymakers and their staffs, engaging them to make evidence-based decisions regarding specific policies. Interactions could include emails, inviting the policymaker to their institutions, and visiting the policymaker at their district or DC office. Ambassadors facilitate two-way education with lawmakers: Ambassadors educate lawmakers about the relevant scientific evidence and the field of behavioral medicine. Likewise, lawmakers would educate ambassadors about their concerns on specific issues and the policymaking process.

Our current key policy priorities are:


Our Child Nutrition Ambassadors educate lawmakers about evidence-based ways to ensure children from all income levels have access to and actually eat healthy foods.

Example policy outcomes:

  • Maintain and strengthen healthy school meal standards (e.g., Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act)
  • Protect or increase funding for programs such as SNAP and WIC

Our Climate Change and Health Ambassadors educate lawmakers about evidence-based behavioral ways to mitigate climate change and its adverse effects on health, particularly for vulnerable populations.

Example policy outcomes:

  • Increase federal funding for climate, health, and behavioral research
  • Increase funding and incentives for active transportation infrastructure (e.g., bike lanes) that benefits both health and the climate

Our Non-pharmacological Pain Management/Opioid Misuse Ambassadors educate lawmakers about evidence-based ways to best manage pain and combat opioid misuse.

Example policy outcomes:

  • Increase ACA reimbursement for evidence-based behavioral interventions, such as behavioral counseling, for patients with chronic pain and/or opioid use disorders
  • Increase Medicare coverage for Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid use disorders and ensure behavioral components are an essential component of this treatment

Our Rural Health Ambassadors educate lawmakers about the unique healthcare needs of rural populations and evidence-based strategies to improve their health outcomes and quality of life.

Example policy outcome:

  • Improve access to telemedicine care (e.g., improve reimbursement and increase broadband coverage)