Frequently Asked Questions
Updated February 1, 2023
SBM is committed to hosting a safe and engaging 2023 Annual Meeting. Attendance at any event now comes with some risk of contracting COVID-19, and everyone has different comfort levels and personal situations. This FAQ will help you understand which COVID-19 protocols will be in place at SBM’s meeting and why, so you know exactly what to expect.
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Will I be penalized if I submit an abstract and later withdraw my submission due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic?
No. We have suspended the Withdrawn Abstracts Policy for the 2023 Annual Meeting. We want submitters to feel comfortable submitting their science. If a submission is withdrawn, we welcome you to re-submit for the 2024 meeting.
Is there a virtual or hybrid option for the Annual Meeting?
No. SBM will not offer a hybrid meeting because members and attendees have told us in many surveys that you prefer in-person events. Instead, approximately 16 high-impact sessions (symposia, panels, papers, and master lectures) and approximately 25 research spotlights will be recorded and made available on-demand after the Annual Meeting. In-person attendees will have free access to the recordings, members can purchase access for $100, and non-members can purchase access for $200.
What if I am no longer comfortable attending the Annual Meeting in person after I register? What if I test positive for COVID-19 or develop symptoms and cannot attend?
We have suspended the Cancellation Policy for the 2023 Annual Meeting. We will refund your full registration fee if you no longer feel comfortable attending the Annual Meeting or if you become ill. Please notify staff about cancellations as soon as possible by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All refunds will be processed after the Annual Meeting. SBM also encourages all attendees to book refundable or changeable travel if possible.
Will SBM require attendees to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Yes. All attendees and adult guests are required to be vaccinated or to have a vaccination exemption under applicable law. “Vaccinated” means either two weeks have passed since receiving the second dose of an FDA- or WHO-authorized double-dose COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks have passed since receiving the one dose of an FDA- or WHO-authorized single-dose COVID-19 vaccine. Please note that booster shots are highly recommended for those who are eligible (unless you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last three months), but are not required. Attendees and adult guests will be required to show proof of vaccination (ex: vaccination card, photo or copy of vaccination card, state vaccination record, pharmacy vaccination record) at the on-site registration desk in order to receive their conference materials; those with exemptions will need to instead show documentation of their exemption. Attendees still have time to get vaccinated, get boosted, and consult with their medical professional.
SBM has determined our meeting’s vaccination protocols based on scientific evidence about vaccine safety and efficacy, data on booster efficacy against variants, and a survey that showed 97% of likely Annual Meeting attendees were vaccinated. SBM’s meeting remains family-friendly: Any minors attending the meeting are encouraged to be vaccinated if eligible. International attendees with vaccine questions should email email@example.com.
Attendees will be vaccinated, but what about others I may interact with in Phoenix?
58% of Phoenix residents have received at least two COVID-19 vaccine doses. For the latest data on Phoenix’s rates of vaccination, cases, test positivity, and deaths, please visit the CDC website.
Will SBM require a negative COVID-19 test from meeting attendees?
Not at this time.
Will there be daily temperature or symptom checks for attendees?
Not at this time. All attendees will be strongly encouraged to monitor themselves for any COVID-19 symptoms and to obtain a COVID-19 test if they develop symptoms.
Will rapid testing be available at the meeting?
Not at this time. Maricopa County has a list of locations for obtaining COVID-19 testing if needed. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own test kits, and can obtain them free from the U.S. government. SBM also encourages use of the NIH’s online When To Test Calculator.
Will meeting attendees need to wear masks?
SBM recommends that attendees mask up in our conference space and during travel to and from our event. All attendees must respect the mask choices of their fellow attendees.
Scientific evidence shows “face masks significantly reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to social distancing. We find a very low risk of infection when everyone wears a face mask, even if it doesn’t fit perfectly on the face.” Similarly, “the preponderance of evidence indicates that mask wearing reduces transmissibility per contact by reducing transmission of infected respiratory particles in both laboratory and clinical contexts. Public mask wearing is most effective at reducing spread of the virus when compliance is high.” Check out these infographics on the best kinds of masks and how to wear a mask properly.
Attendees who mask may consider removing masks while presenting. This will help presenters be heard, and allows for full participation from attendees with hearing impairments (who may rely on lip-reading).
Will hand sanitizer be available at the meeting?
Yes. Hand sanitizer stations will be accessible throughout the meeting space. SBM will also provide individual bottles of hand sanitizer to meeting attendees. The Sheraton Phoenix Downtown conference hotel has additional enhanced cleaning protocols as a preventative measure.
Will the meeting practice social distancing?
No, but SBM will provide color-coded lanyards to help attendees clearly show their interaction and distance comfort levels. If distancing were to be required by local health agencies, SBM would cancel the in-person meeting and convert content to a virtual meeting in order to ensure equity of access to content, rather than limit content only to the small number of individuals allowed under distancing protocols.
What is SBM doing to mitigate a high volume of people in the Poster/Exhibit Hall?
The meeting will feature five poster sessions instead of the traditional four. This will allow for fewer posters to be presented in each poster session. Presenters will be encouraged to hang posters early so that attendees can view them outside of poster session hours. Presenters are also encouraged to use a new poster design complete with QR code so viewers can stand farther away.
Will COVID-19 precautions be in place for the Stride for Science Run/Walk?
Yes. The run will have the same COVID-19 prevention protocols in place as the overall conference.
What if my institution has a COVID-19 travel ban that includes the meeting dates and/or location, and prohibits me from presenting?
Please send details on the travel ban to firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage you to find an alternate presenter from among your co-submitters if possible. SBM will also keep your abstract in the abstract supplement and mobile app, and you will have free access to app messaging as a way to engage with attendees interested in your science.
What will happen if an attendee tests positive for COVID-19 during or immediately after the meeting?
All attendees are strongly encouraged to immediately report to SBM staff if they have tested positive for COVID-19, and to inform staff of any close contacts. The person will be asked to isolate immediately. SBM will keep the individual’s personal information confidential, but, in order to prevent additional spread of COVID-19, will notify anyone identified as a close contact that they have had a “likely exposure.” Per CDC guidance, those with exposures are not required to quarantine but are encouraged to mask.
What are the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations for the Annual Meeting?
The conference host hotel is accessible and ADA-compliant. Individuals who need special accommodations under the ADA should note this on their conference registration form.
How does the conference support working parents and individuals who are breastfeeding?
SBM’s meeting is family-friendly. Children can attend sessions, and individuals are welcome to breastfeed anywhere, including in a private nursing room.
What will happen if SBM cannot safely hold an in-person meeting?
Meeting content will still be available. SBM’s Planning Committee has developed a contingency plan for converting the majority of meeting content to digital posters, digital 1-pagers, or live webinars (with recordings available on-demand afterward). All accepted abstracts will also be available via the Annals of Behavioral Medicine Abstract Supplement and meeting mobile app. Select live networking sessions will take place, with additional networking happening via the mobile app and social media. All meeting attendees will be refunded their full in-person registration fees. There will be free access to the digital posters, digital 1-pagers, mobile app, and abstract supplement, and members-only access to the webinars.
SBM “is monitoring” the pandemic and meeting plans. What does that mean?
SBM’s Planning Committee meets weekly to determine if Annual Meeting COVID-19 protocols need to be changed. The SBM Planning Committee, Board, and Executive Committee continue to make decisions based on scientific evidence, health and safety, and inclusion and equity.