Outlook: Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine
Spring/Summer 2015 Return to Outlook main page »

Board Notes: Plans to Partner with Industry, Improve Society Governance

Over the past year—and especially during its April meeting—the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) Board of Directors focused on two initiatives: developing partnerships with industry and adopting new societal governance practices.

Developing Partnerships with Industry

A Revenue Enhancement Working Group convened by SBM immediate Past-President Lisa M. Klesges, PhD, has been working on a business plan for an SBM consulting enterprise that would connect SBM members with tech industry leaders in part to make sure digital health interventions are truly evidence-based. Tech developers, patient consumers, SBM members, and the society itself could all benefit.

Such a consulting entity is far from finalized. During the April meeting of SBM's Board of Directors, board members discussed the idea broadly. They defined "industry" to include not only technology-related ventures but also health systems, pharma, and more. They also identified core values that should guide SBM as it establishes industry partnerships. For instance, the process should be transparent, science/research must be imbedded into any resulting products, SBM should refrain from endorsing products, and patients (rather than SBM or industry) should be the primary beneficiaries of any partnerships.

The board further outlined benefits that might accrue from such partnerships (e.g., translation of research into practice; increased visibility of SBM and its members; showing relevance of behavioral medicine; and increased revenue for SBM, members, and industry). Pitfalls were outlined as well (e.g., potential to stray from SBM mission, development and legal costs, conflicts of interest).

The board approved further exploration of the consulting enterprise proposal, perhaps with the assistance of a prestigious business school.

Adopting New Governance Practices

A Governance Working Group, also convened by Dr. Klesges, developed recommendations to increase societal efficiency, improve coordination, and strengthen connections with members. Working group leader Sara Knight, PhD, delivered those recommendations to the board during its April meeting.

Overall, the recommendations focus on (1) clarifying and strengthening board member roles, particularly those of member delegates, and (2) achieving alignment with SBM's four specific strategic directions. Alignment could entail SBM councils/committees developing year-long agendas based, in part, on the strategic directions; presidents seeking board input in the development of presidential initiatives; and the board regularly assessing progress related to the strategic directions.

Other Board Actions

During the April meeting, board members also voted to

  • renew their commitment to offering continuing education credits to Annual Meeting attendees;
  • and accept the independent audit of the society's finances.