2021 Annual Meeting

We are delighted to extend an invitation for you to participate in the 42nd Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine from April 14-17, 2021. For the health and safety of attendees, the meeting will be held virtually. A virtual conference means more attendees than ever before can participate in the largest yearly behavioral medicine gathering in the world! With on-demand and recorded sessions, your science can have maximum reach and impact, and there’s no need to pick between competing sessions.

Virtual Conference FAQ

Learn more about our decision-making process to go virtual for 2021.

Abstract submission

Abstracts open Early-August


Registration for the Annual Meeting will open in November.

Why Attend SBM?

SBM is a vibrant, multidisciplinary society focused on the role of behavior in improving health. Most of our country's most daunting health challenges have behavioral origins, and achieving SBM’s vision of “better health through behavior change” has never been more important. SBM members include the nation’s leading scientists and practitioners, and SBM annual meetings are the premier forum for the most influential behavioral medicine research. Learn more about SBM and who we are.

Who will I be able to interact with at the SBM Annual Meeting?

  • SBM’s meeting is the only truly multidisciplinary behavioral medicine conference. SBM's membership includes approximately 2,400 behavioral and biomedical researchers and clinicians from more than 20 disciplines and across academic and industry settings.

Will SBM have the continuing education credits I need?

  • The society offers an average of 25 credit hours per meeting to nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, psychologists, public health professionals, health education specialists, and dietitians.

What do other professionals say about SBM’s Annual Meetings?

  • "Such an energizing conference, all of the sessions were wonderful and the focus on translating research into policy was timely."
  • "Overall the conference provided many networking opportunities and allowed me to make some major connections."
  • "As a graduate student, I found the emphasis on mentoring and career development extremely helpful." 

SBM by the Numbers

  • SBM's meeting offers over 200 sessions in more than 30 topic areas, including cancer, digital health, methods and measurement, physical activity, and quality of life.
  • An estimated 2,200 individuals from the United States and abroad will attend the 2021 Annual Meeting.

2021 Annual Meeting Information


Registration for the Annual Meeting will open in November.  It is a better deal to register as you renew or add an SBM membership, which you can do via the registration form!

Pending National Institutes of Health approval, there may be limited funds available to defray meeting registration fees for conference attendee members of the following racial and ethnic groups that have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral science research: American Indian or Alaska Natives; Blacks or African Americans; Hispanics or Latinos; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders. If any of these categories apply to you, be sure to check the appropriate box on your registration form.

SBM offers pre-conference courses. You can register for pre-conference courses independently or in addition to your Annual Meeting registration.

Student Volunteering offers an opportunity for approximately 30 student members to earn complimentary registration. Applications for SBM Student Member Volunteers open in the fall.

Continuing Education
Credits are available to purchase for an additional cost when registering for the meeting for physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, psychologists, dieticians, and certified health education specialists. Learners must complete an evaluation form following the meeting to receive a certificate of completion. Your chosen sessions must be attended in their entirety.  Partial credit of individual sessions is not available. If you are seeking continuing education credit for a specialty not listed, it is your responsibility to contact your licensing/certification board to determine course eligibility for your licensing/certification requirement. The number of credits available will be published prior to the meeting.


Abstract Submission Process

Abstract Submissions Open: Early-August, 2020
Abstract Submissions Close: September, 2020
Rapid Communication Poster Submissions Open: Mid-October, 2020
Rapid Communication Poster Submissions Close: Mid-November, 2020

Abstract Submission Notification: Confirmation emails may go to your spam folder.  If you DO NOT receive an email notification regarding your abstract being submitted within 48 hours of submitting it please reach out to SBM.

Abstract Acceptance Notification: Confirmation emails may go to your spam folder.  If you DO NOT receive an email notification regarding your abstract submission by 15, November, 2020, or by 1, February, 2021 for rapid abstracts please reach out to SBM.

For any questions regarding your submission or the abstract submission site, please contact the national office at (414) 918-3156 or at info@sbm.org.

Abstracts MUST be submitted according to SBM's specific guidelines listed below, using SBM's official CadmiumCD submission website. Abstracts may be submitted as an oral presentation (pre-conference courses, symposia, panel discussions, debates, ignite talks or papers) or poster presentation.

All abstract submissions will be peer reviewed. All accepted abstracts will be published in the Annual Meeting Supplement issue of Annals of Behavioral Medicine, an official journal of SBM. The supplement will serve as the official abstract publication for SBM's 42nd Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions.

Upon receipt of your submission, CadmiumCD will issue an email confirmation to the submitting author. Authors can expect to receive the email confirmation of their submission within 48 hours (or two business days) after submission. If you do not receive a confirmation email from the abstract system within 48 hours of submitting your abstract, contact the national office at (414) 918-3156 or at info@sbm.org.

Character Limit: There is a limit of 2,500 characters including spaces. The 2,500 character limit does not include title or author list.

Complete and Original Results: Each abstract should represent complete and original results. If you want to present a “Works in Progress” (e.g., design and methods of a large clinical trial) or a “Lessons Learned” (e.g., tips for other researchers) abstract, then this could be included in a panel discussion, debate, symposium, or rapid communication poster, but not in a regular paper, ignite talk, or poster presentation (until complete data is available). Note that rapid communication poster abstracts have a separate, later deadline than other abstracts. Submitting multiple abstracts in which the same data have been analyzed in different ways, or in which a study is subdivided into small sub-studies, is prohibited and will result in those abstracts being rejected. In addition, this action may result in the individual abstract authors being prohibited from submitting abstracts for future SBM annual meetings. Only if abstracts present unique information that could be published in separate journal articles will multiple submissions from a single project be considered (e.g., if they address theoretically unrelated/distinct hypotheses, if they utilize non-overlapping data/variables, etc.). If multiple presenters claim equal contribution to a project, then they can co-present the paper or poster at the annual meeting.

Empirical/Non-Empirical Research: Paper abstracts submitted for presentation must be based on empirical research and report actual (not promised) results. Poster submissions, except for Works in Progress and Lessons Learned rapid communication posters, must also be based on empirical research and report actual (not promised) results. Abstracts for courses, panel discussions, debates, and symposia may include empirical and/or non-empirical contributions. 

Empirical work includes primary quantitative research (e.g., observational studies, clinical trials) and primary qualitative research (e.g., interviews, focus groups), with both requiring appropriate methods for gleaning insights (e.g., the use of appropriate statistics for quantitative data and appropriate processing of qualitative data, such as thematic analysis). Empirical research can also be of a secondary nature and involve the use of prior empirical work, such as review articles. Note that for these types of empirical contributions, the work does need to use accepted procedures for organizing and processing that information including both quantitative (e.g., meta-analysis) or qualitative (e.g., meta-synthesis, scoping or narrative reviews) approaches. Literature reviews that do not use an accepted protocol for organizing the literature and gleaning insights will NOT be considered empirical but could be discussed within courses, panels, or symposia. 

Prior Publication Policy: Abstracts that have been published or presented elsewhere prior to the time of presentation at the 42nd Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions may not be submitted for consideration by SBM. Work may be submitted for publication after the abstract submission deadline, prior to the annual meeting, and still be presented at the meeting (even if it is published prior to the meeting).

Abstract Presentation Limit: Authors are limited to participation as “presenter” in a maximum of three abstract submissions. Presenters of accepted abstracts should pre-register for the annual meeting by the early-bird deadline.

Presenter Registration: Each presenting author is responsible for his/her registration fee(s) as well as travel and housing costs. Presenters who are unable to attend the annual meeting should arrange for another individual to present the paper/poster in question. If changes to the listing of your presenting author are necessary, please notify the SBM national office (414) 918-3156 or info@sbm.org.

Withdrawn Abstracts: Abstract presenters who withdraw a presentation may be denied the right to submit an abstract for the 2022 SBM annual meeting. The only exceptions to this policy are (1) absence due to weather-related issues that hinder a presenter’s travel to the meeting, (2) absence due to a work-related emergency, or (3) absence related to personal injury or family health emergency. Miscalculation of travel costs by the presenter does not qualify as an acceptable reason to withdraw one’s abstract. In the event this occurs, no refunds will be given.

Abstract/Presentation Language: All abstract submissions must be in English. All presentations based on accepted abstract submissions must be made in English.

Thematic Submissions Encouraged: Submissions are especially encouraged that reflect the theme for the 42nd Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions: “Let’s go all IN: Inclusion, Innovation, Influence”.

Open Science Practices Encouraged: Submitters will have the opportunity to declare their open science practices for the submitted work, including preregistered design, preregistered analyses, shared materials, and posted data. SBM is committed to promoting more open science practices among members and at the annual meeting. For more information on these practices and their benefits, see the Center for Open Science (https://cos.io/) or other resources.


When submitting your abstract, you may check boxes to be considered for these special opportunities:

  • Industry-Focused Posters: When submitting your poster abstract, look for the option to flag your submission as an Industry-Focused poster.  Posters that highlight the translational research coming out of industry and industry-academia partnerships will receive an Industry-Focused badge at the annual meeting. Recipients of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants are especially encouraged to participate.
  • Poster Mentoring Program: Student SBM members can have their poster presentations evaluated by a senior SBM members. Because of the Poster Mentoring Program’s popularity, interested students are selected via a random drawing. Selected students are matched with senior members based on common behavioral medicine interests when possible. Those senior members then stop by the student’s poster presentation to offer feedback and advice in person.

Q: Can I submit a “meta-synthesis” for the Annual Meeting? (a meta-synthesis is similar to a meta-analysis but provides an evidence-based integration of qualitative studies).
A: Yes, you can submit a meta-synthesis as long as the synthesis includes sufficient published data (in this case qualitative data) to warrant a meta-synthesis and as long as the work utilizes strong methodology (as supported by existing literature).

Q: Can I submit an abstract that presents the aims, design, and methods for an ongoing trial? We are still collecting data, so this would be the equivalent to a design paper in a journal.
A: You may submit methods/design relevant abstracts as part of relevant panels, symposia, or debates and as rapid communication posters—but not as regular paper/poster presentations, which require complete data at the time of submission.

Q: Can I submit an abstract that explains our experiences as researchers and “lessons learned” when conducting large clinical trials (e.g., partnering with clinics and engaging hard-to-reach patients for a community-level intervention)? Although this type of abstract would not involve sharing statistical results, would it still be considered empirical research?
A: This would fit into empirical work if you gathered qualitative data on this topic area and presented the qualitative data. If you do not have qualitative data, then this would fit better into a symposium whereby you could discuss these areas in the context of others who are working in a similar domain. Lessons learned can also be submitted as rapid communication posters—but not as regular paper/poster presentations.

Q: My abstract would work well as either a panel discussion or a debate.  Which submission type should I use?
A: There are overlapping elements between the panel and debate formats. We would suggest choosing the debate format if there are clear opposing sides to an issue and you want to present those to the audience. A panel may also have differing viewpoints on a topic - in fact we would welcome that - but is not designed to clearly delineate opposing sides of an issue. An example might be that you want to present on the utility of theory in behavior change interventions. Choose the debate format if you want to present this topic by discussing the pros and cons of theory in designing interventions. Choose a panel if you want to have a discussion on how people have used theory in their behavior change interventions.

Q: After submission of an abstract for presentation at the Annual Meeting, is the author prohibited from submitting a manuscript for publication (based off the presentation submission) prior to the presentation date?
A: Authors may submit their work for publication in a journal after the SBM annual meeting submission deadline has passed but before the annual meeting occurs. If you follow these rules and the paper ends up being published prior to the conference, then you do NOT need to withdraw the SBM submission.

Q: Is it allowed for a larger study to be divided into several abstract submissions (e.g., so that several graduate students from the same lab can present)?
A: SBM recognizes the importance of having graduate students present their work at the annual meeting, even if their work is part of a team-based project. However, the individual abstracts should be distinct enough to warrant publication as separate papers—that is, address unique theoretical questions (distinct enough for separate publication), use non-overlapping data, etc. If the abstracts would be combined into one manuscript for publication in a journal, then they should not be separated for submissions to the SBM annual meeting. Instead, consider having two students present at the same session (paper presentation or poster, for example).

Q: Can I submit a literature review for presentation?
A: A literature review can be submitted for presentation as a poster or paper only if it includes empirical data. However, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and meta-syntheses can be considered empirical if they use literature-supported empirical methods (for determining the included articles, for synthesizing quantitative or qualitative findings in the literature, etc.) and utilize the included literature as data/evidence. Otherwise, literature reviews may fit within a relevant panel discussion or symposium.

SBM's 42nd Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions features a variety of presentation formats including pre-conference courses, symposia, panel discussions, debates, ignite talks, papers and posters.

Pre-Conference Courses are either half day (2 hour and 30 minute) or full day (5 hour) sessions held on Wednesday. They feature presentations that emphasize the theory and application of practical skills. Only one abstract needs to be submitted per proposed course.

Symposia examine important issues from a variety of perspectives. These sessions are scheduled for Thursday, Friday or Saturday and last 60 minutes. During these sessions, alternative solutions, interpretations, and points of view on a body of knowledge within the field are presented and debated. Symposia that include presenters from different disciplines and include cross-cutting themes relevant to behavioral medicine as well as the meeting topic areas are strongly encouraged. A symposium typically includes one chair, three presenters, and one discussant. Symposia can include presentations that do not include empirical data. The chair can serve as one of the three presenters and/or discussant.

Several abstracts need to be submitted for a symposium proposal. First, the symposium chair should submit a symposium abstract (a summary of the topics/scheduled presentations). Then, using the "Individual Presentation and Details" step, the chair can either complete the symposium presentation abstracts (the summary of the specific solution, interpretation, point of view, etc.) for each presenter OR they can click the blue dialogue icon to email each presenter a request to complete the task. The discussant is not required to complete an abstract but should be listed in the author/presenter section of the symposium abstract.

Panel Discussions are hour-long sessions (e.g., discussions about educational topics, career development, funding opportunities) scheduled for Thursday or Friday, designed to allow for discussion among presenters as well as provide a forum for interaction with session attendees. Panel discussions are expected to have two or more speakers, depending on the structure of the session. Panels do not require empirical data and also, do not require formal presentations from panelists. Instead, this format is particularly good for active discussions between panelists and between the panelists and the audience. Only one abstract needs to be submitted per proposed panel.

Debates are hour-long session held on Thursday representing different views on a central topic. Only one abstract needs to be submitted per proposed debate. Debate submissions will include up to 5 participants; 1 chair and up to 2 presenters on each side of the topic; all debates require a chair. Debate presentations will include an introduction to the topic, allow each side 5 minutes to present their side, and then each side has 2 minutes for rebuttal. The chair will then open the discussion to the audience members. One abstract should be submitter per debate. The abstract should include a summary of the topic to be debates along with a description of each of the opposing sides.

Ignite Talks are a series of 12 five-minute presentations center around a common theme, presented on Friday of the meeting. Presenters get 20 slides maximum with each slide automatically advancing every 15 seconds. Each presentation within an ignite talk requires an individual abstract.

Papers clustered around common themes will be presented for 15 minutes each (10 minutes for presentation, 3 for discussion, and 2 for introduction and speaker turnover) and are scheduled for Thursday or Friday. Only one abstract needs to be submitted per proposed paper presentation.

Posters allow presenters to discuss their research with interested colleagues for 75 minutes in an informal setting. Poster sessions are held on the evenings of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and on Saturday morning. Poster submissions judged by the Program Committee to be especially original and significant will be highlighted as meritorious and/or citation award winners. Only one abstract needs to be submitted per proposed poster presentation.

Rapid Communication Posters offer the opportunity for presentation of late-breaking findings in the field of behavioral medicine. Rapid communication posters are scheduled during the poster sessions on the evenings of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and on Saturday morning. Only one abstract needs to be submitted per proposed poster presentation.

Posters are a very important and essential part of the SBM annual meeting. They are a great way for researchers to discuss their work with colleagues. SBM views poster presentations as equally important to paper presentations.

Authors may submit abstracts as “poster only,” “paper only,” or “paper or poster.” Authors are encouraged to submit using the “paper or poster” option since all papers submitted under this option that are not selected for paper presentations will alternatively be considered for poster presentations.