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ETCD Council Offering Career Development Opportunities All Year Round

Nicole Zarrett, PhD, Education, Training, and Career Development Council chair

The 2015 SBM Annual Meeting was an exciting one for the Society of Behavioral Medicine's (SBM) Education, Training, and Career Development (ETCD) Council. Each year we offer sessions for members at all stages of their careers. Below are some program highlights. We have also included information about our consultation program, a resource we offer throughout the year.

Meet the Professors: SBM Fellow Office Hours for Social Networking

This was the first year that ETCD offered a session titled, Meet the Professors: SBM Fellow Office Hours for Social Networking. The event featured invited SBM fellows from each SIG who agreed to serve as mentors (professors). The session began with a presentation by the event moderators on networking techniques and a demonstration of those techniques in action. Following the presentation, attendees were organized into discussion groups with their choice mentor(s) and given the opportunity to identify and practice skills needed to build a social network, develop ideas for collaborations with others in their field, and obtain career advice. The informal environment lead to an afternoon full of invigorating conversation with attendees reluctant to leave at the completion of the session. More than 50 people attended the event which drew everyone from graduate students to senior faculty members. Given the success of the event, the ETCD Council hopes to offer similar sessions at future annual meetings.

Poster Mentoring Program

The Poster Mentoring Program enjoyed its fourth year during the 2015 meeting, and offered SBM student/trainee members the chance to interact one-on-one with senior SBM members. Selected student/trainee members (picked through a random drawing) were paired with SBM fellows within similar fields of research. The fellows attended the student/trainees poster presentations to provide valuable feedback on their research and to discuss future directions and/or career goals. This year's program participants reported receiving helpful feedback on research design and advice for completing dissertations. They also feel the program is beneficial, particularly for students who may not get a lot of input from their own (local) mentors about their posters.

"Honestly, I have nothing but positive feedback for the poster mentoring session!" said Jennifer Kim Bernat, PhD, MS, speaking of her time spent with SBM Fellow Dawn K. Wilson, PhD. Wilson encouraged her to publish her work and gave suggestions to strengthen the literature review and discussion.

"I'm currently writing up the paper, and I hope to submit it in the next month," Bernat said. "Thanks again for the opportunity, and I hope you continue this program in the future."

Career Development Panels

The ETCD Council offered two panel discussions at the 2015 Annual Meeting. The first panel (Careers in Behavioral Medicine: Teaching, Training, and Coaching Professionals in Health Care) focused on the opportunities and challenges found in behavioral medicine careers that include heath care provider education. The second panel (Graduate Student Research Panel Discussion) provided students with an overview of common issues that emerge with student/faculty communication, scope of thesis/dissertation topics, and networking, with questions from attendees driving the discussion. Both panels were well attended and the council plans to offer similar sessions in the future.

Consultation Program

Along with the education, training and career development opportunities offered at the Annual Meeting, SBM offers a Web-based Consultation Program which provides members with year-round electronic access to experts in various behavioral medicine areas. 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. 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.

Members can access the program by logging into the Members Only section of the SBM website and clicking on the Consultation Program link in the Member Benefits list. Currently, consultants are available from the Cancer SIG, Child and Family Health SIG, Integrated Primary Care SIG, Obesity and Eating Disorders SIG, Physical Activity SIG, Spirituality and Health SIG, and ETCD Council.

While several individuals have graciously agreed to share their time and expertise, additional consultants are always welcome. Please contact Erica Linc at elinc@sbm.org or (414) 918-3156 to participate.

Thank You

And, finally, we would like to thank the SBM fellows who volunteered to participate in both our Meet the Professors social networking event and the Poster Mentoring Program.