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ETCD Update
SBM Consultation Program: Be a Part of it!

By Laura Porter, PhD, ETCD Council Chair

In 2012, the Education, Training and Career Development (ETCD) Council launched a web-based Consultation Program designed to facilitate the exchange of information and resources between SBM members. The Consultation Program can help overcome real or perceived barriers to approaching an SBM colleague with a question. Prospective consultees can identify expert consultants on the SBM website and contact them with specific questions pertaining to scientific topic areas as well as career development issues.

What are the benefits of a Consultation Program?

  • First, while most SBM members are open and willing to consult with others, some are more willing and available than others! Those who have agreed to be consultants have explicitly indicated that they are receptive to inquiries from others about their work. This explicit permission is especially helpful for members who may be more tentative about contacting someone they don't know.
  • Second, the consultation program is a valuable resource to new SBM members, and those who do not have institutional connections to other SBM members, who may otherwise have difficulty identifying who to contact with their questions.
  • Third, this ongoing forum enables SBM members to connect with each other throughout the year rather than relying solely on the networking opportunities at the annual meeting.

Currently, we have consultants represented from five SIGs (Cancer, Integrated Primary Care, Obesity & Eating Disorders, Pain, and Child & Family Health) as well as Clinical Career Development Issues. However, the Consultation Program is open to all SBM members regardless of SIG membership. The program is still in the early phases of development, and we need your help to grow this into a valuable resource for the SBM membership. Please consider doing one or all of the following:

  • Volunteer to serve as a consultant: Whether you are early in your career or more seasoned, you likely have valuable knowledge and experience that would benefit other members. The Consultation Program gives you the opportunity to connect with other members who share your interests with a minimal time commitment. We welcome consultants both within and outside of SIG content areas, as well as consultants focused on career issues in clinical, industry and military settings.
  • Use the program yourself: Whether you are a postdoc looking for advice on negotiating your first job, or a full professor delving into a new area of research, your fellow SBM members may be able to provide the knowledge and guidance you need.
  • Refer your trainees and colleagues to the program for their consultation needs.

The program, and guidelines for its use, can be accessed by logging into the Members Only section of the SBM website and clicking on the link to the Consultation Program.

Finally, I would like to thank the members of the Consultation Program development committee for their creative ideas and dedication to the project: Lori Pbert, Shawna Ehlers, Kristi Graves and Aimee James.