Outlook: A Quarterly Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine
Spring/Summer 2009 Return to Outlook Main page >>

It is all about SIGs

Barbara Resnick, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP, SIG Council Chair

Society of Behavioral Medicine is the best kept secret among health care professions and our SIGS are the best kept secret within SBM. There are currently 17 SIGs:

  1. Aging
  2. Behavior Informatics
  3. Cancer
  4. Child and Family Health
  5. Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  6. Diabetes
  7. Ethnic Minority and Multicultural Health
  8. Evidence Based Behavioral Medicine
  9. Health Decision Making
  10. Integrated Primary Care
  11. Multiple Risk and Behavior Change
  12. Obesity and Eating
  13. Pain
  14. Physical Activity
  15. Spirituality and Health
  16. Student
  17. Women's Health

What is the purpose and focus of the SIGs?
The great news is there is not a single purpose or focus of the SIGs. Depending on the topical area, size, and age of the SIGs any variety of activities may occur. Some SIGs simply use the Annual Meeting as a time to address issues within their topical area, present together in a symposium, or address similar interests with regard to clinical work or research. Other SIGs have newsletters, have produced White Papers on critical issues related to Behavioral Medicine, and have written manuscripts and developed supplements. The opportunities are endless when bringing together a group of national experts in a specific area.

What is in it for YOU?
So, you may or may not be a member of a SIG, or you may or may not know you are a member of a SIG! What does SIG membership mean for you? Well, first you should understand that as you sign up for a SIG a small amount of your membership dues is allocated to that SIG.

Ten dollars from your membership dues are allocated as follows:

  1. $4 goes into a pool divided equally among all 17 SIGs (including the Student SIG).
  2. You have an opportunity to dedicate the remaining $6 to: 1 ($6), 2 ($3), or 3 ($2) SIGs of your choice.
  3. If you do not choose any SIG the money goes into a pool of money divided between SIGs equally.

So, take a stand in an area you have interest in and support that SIG.

Once you identify yourself with a SIG, you will get added to the SIG's Listserv and have the opportunity to share news, ask questions, explore controversial areas, or pull together others with expertise in similar areas.

My Vision and Hopes for SIGS in 2009-2010
My vision and hope related to the SIGS is directed to two areas: (1) Increasing the membership activity within each SIG; and (2) Increasing recognition of the SIGS and the expertise of the SIG members within SBM and externally among the entire health care field.

Increasing Membership and Activity of the SIGS
In the next year I will be working with the SIG chairs, the SBM Board and staff to encourage all SBM members to identify with at least one SIG and to engage in at least one SIG-related activity. This might be submitting a session for the Annual Meeting, sending out a note on the Listserv or participating in the development of a white paper. SIG Chairs will be encouraged to provide SIG members with a monthly update on SBM-related activities as relevant to the SIG and to encourage a three pronged SIG approach with activities focused around clinical practice, research, and policy.

Increasing Recognition of the Expertise of the SIGS
Increased information sharing will help to raise awareness of SIG activities throughout the entire SBM membership. Information will be shared through written formats in Outlook, on the SBM Web page and via emails, and ultimately in the new SBM Journal. For example, the Physical Activity SIG might develop guidelines or best practice approaches for how to implement a community based walking program and publish these in the new journal and/or on the web. At a national level, I hope to encourage and increase SIG involvement in informing health policy makers of the importance, utility, and potential cost savings of behavioral approaches to health care. For example, the Integrated Primary Care SIG might respond to, or make recommendations for the Finance Committee's "Proposals to Improve Patient Care and Reduce Health Care Costs." This type of response has the potential to increases national awareness of SBM and the expertise of the individual SIG. In addition, the SIGs will be encouraged to reach out and work with other organizations on topics of interest to both groups. For example, the Aging SIG will be working with the Geriatric Society of American (GSA) to support their Fun Run/Walk at the 2009 GSA annual meeting.

The SIG Solution
We are in the midst of a challenging economic recession in the United States. In addition, our health care system is in crisis and there is much opportunity to inform current policy makers of evidence based ways in which to improve health and decrease health care costs, particularly with regard to management of chronic illness. The expertise of the SIGs is critical to this important endeavor and we need to share that expertise with the entire SBM membership and among those outside the field of behavioral medicine. I encourage all SBM members again to align with a SIG and get to work on the SIG solution to our health care challenges during this important time.