Outlook: A Quarterly Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine
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SBM Development Committee - Key to Successful Annual Meetings

Suzanne M. Miller, PhD, Development Committee Chair

Ensuring a stimulating, enriching, cost-conscious, and rewarding SBM Annual Meeting experience requires effort on many fronts. As many SBM members appreciate, the Program Committee spends the greater part of a year planning educational sessions, which not only entails reviewing abstracts but choosing keynote and master lecture presenters whose research and expertise offers attendees a look at the most exciting developments in the behavioral medicine field. The Board of Directors chooses locales that appeal to members, based on travel ease, climate, and such amenities as restaurants and tourist attractions. The theme of the meeting is carefully chosen to reflect current trends and future directions of central interest to participants.

Members might not know, however, that the Development Committee, chaired by Suzanne M. Miller, PhD, also spends the greater part of a year securing meeting sponsorships. Take a look at registration fees for most other meetings of comparable size and you will discover that ours are relatively low and affordable for members and non-members alike. Consequently, registration fee revenue does not cover all the expenses associated with executing a successful meeting. More often than not, expenses include meeting space; they always include food and beverages, poster boards, conference bags, audio visual services, and more. To make ends meet, the conference needs to be underwritten, through sponsorships, exhibit booths, and advertisements, and the Development Committee secures them.

The process for securing sponsorships is far from simple. It entails developing appealing marketing materials that quickly acquaint potential sponsors with SBM and what we stand for as well as providing a meeting overview that conveys an important message: the SBM meeting is a unique, high-caliber, and scientifically stellar one. It also allows the kind of networking and mentoring that are so vital to our members and to the future of the field. The Committee develops extensive lists of potential sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers; after initial email contact Committee members and staff follow-up personally to further explore interest.

Sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers are promised - and deserve! - acknowledgement for their contributions so it is incumbent on the Committee and staff to provide it - in the preliminary and final programs, on the SBM Web site, and on signage throughout the meeting.

This year, the Committee will be asking if you and or the organization or institution with which you work would be able to play a role in sponsoring the meeting and ensuring the continued health of our society, science, and the future of our field. We know that times are challenging, and we recognize that registration fees plus travel expenses might not leave much budget for meeting sponsorship, but we would be shirking our responsibility if we failed to ask you to do all that you can to ensure the continued vitality and prominence of our national meeting. (Shirkers we are not!) Any amount is helpful and essential to underwriting the quality of our convention. Plus, at the $1,000+ sponsorship level SBM waives meeting registration fees (number and type waived vary according to level). Contributions at all levels are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law.

Without sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers, SBM could not host the high-impact, innovative, and engaging meeting that attendees have come to rightfully expect and benefit from. With underwriting, SBM's meeting features the best and broadest behavioral medicine science and affords extensive networking and educational opportunities, all at an attractive location - where you and guests can have a memorable experience. The Development Committee makes a concentrated effort, each and every year, to garner underwriting, a part of the formula that adds up to a successful meeting. As SBM continues to work towards maintaining our status as the premiere behavioral medicine group in the country, we look to our members and affiliates to help ensure an unparalleled forum for the development of our science and practice.