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Obesity and Eating Disorders SIG Welcomes New Leadership, Plans Meeting Sessions

Jessica G. LaRose, PhD, Obesity and Eating Disorders SIG Outlook liaison

Many exciting events are on the horizon for the Obesity and Eating Disorders (OED) Special Interest Group (SIG) within the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM). We are pleased to announce that new SIG leaders will begin their terms later this spring, and we have numerous sessions planned for the upcoming Annual Meeting being held April 22-25 in San Antonio, TX.

New Co-Chairs

The OED SIG is excited to announce new leadership! Andrea T. Kozak, PhD, and Monica Wang, ScD, MS, were elected as the new SIG co-chairs and will begin their terms in May. Dr. Kozak is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Oakland University and Dr. Wang is an assistant professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University’s School of Public Health.

As we prepare for this transition, we wish to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of outgoing SIG Co-Chairs Stephanie L. Fitzpatrick, PhD, and Amy A. Gorin, PhD. During the last several years they have demonstrated a commitment to the growth of our SIG and have made inter-SIG collaboration and support of students and junior faculty a priority. We’re grateful for their efforts and leadership, and look forward to good things to come under the vision of our new chairs.

Annual Meeting Events

Consistent with the OED SIG mission, this year we are sponsoring and co-sponsoring a variety of events that are sure to be of considerable interest. On April 23 we will host a midday meeting entitled, Meet and Greet for Student and Faculty Clinical Researchers in Obesity. The goal of the meeting is to provide the opportunity for students interested in obesity research to meet and mingle with mid-career and senior-level researchers in the obesity field. The first 30 minutes of the session will consist of a panel discussion and Q&A with senior researchers on their career paths in obesity clinical research. The remaining 20 minutes will allow students to mingle with senior researchers and explore mentoring opportunities. Then on April 24, we are co-sponsoring a midday debate with the Theories and Techniques of Behavior Change Interventions, Multiple Health Behavior Change, and Physical Activity SIGs. The debate, Investing in Epidemiology without Theory is a Waste of Resources, will feature speakers on either side of the topic: Dr. Noel Brewer, PhD (Oppose); Carlo C. DiClemente, PhD (Support); Karina W. Davidson, PhD (Oppose); and Robert West, PhD (Support). It should be a lively discussion on an important topic with appeal to researchers across a variety of areas. We hope you’ll join us for the conversation!

Given that one of the key areas for this year’s Annual Meeting is healthy eating and active living across the lifespan, there are numerous other sessions that are of interest to OED SIG members. On April 21, consider attending the pre-conference workshop, New Approaches to Preventing and Treating Obesity: Key Findings and Lessons Learned from the Obesity-Related Behavioral Intervention Trials (ORBIT). The ORBIT Consortium was developed to facilitate the translation of discoveries from basic behavioral and social science research into innovative strategies aimed at preventing or treating obesity. During this workshop, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from principal investigators across all seven clinical sites as they discuss the ins and outs of their respective studies, as well as lessons learned and challenges in conducting basic-to-clinical translational research. On April 23, the program kicks off with a host of sessions directly relevant to the OED SIG mission that continue throughout the day April 24. There are symposia and paper sessions both days focused on obesity prevention and treatment, as well as diet and physical activity. If you have an interest in translation and policy initiatives, be sure to stop by the April 23 panel discussion on translating childhood obesity research into guidelines, programs, and policy, and don’t leave before the Saturday morning closing keynote panel: Scaling Up: Local, Regional, and National Solutions for the Problem of Obesity.

We’re looking forward to the fantastic sessions slated for this year’s meeting. We hope to see you there!