Outlook: Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine
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The Military and Veterans’ Health SIG Continues to Build Momentum

Michael A. Glotfelter, MS, Military and Veterans’ Health SIG Co-Chair

The 2013 Annual Meeting was productive for the Military and Veterans' Health Special Interest Group (MVH SIG), which celebrated its second year in SBM. The MVH SIG’s primary goal is to promote behavioral health within the unique systems of the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). At the San Francisco meeting, the SIG sponsored two noteworthy programming events including a dynamic session on expanding behavioral medicine career options in VA and DoD as well as a symposium on the use of mobile applications to support patient self-management for mental and physical health conditions.

Both the annual business meeting and evening social event were designed to foster a partnership between the interdisciplinary SBM professionals who work in the VA/DoD healthcare systems. At this year’s business meeting, David Goodrich, EdD, was elected to serve a two-year term representing the VA and Captain Denise Martin-Zona, PhD was elected to serve a two-year term as the Communications Officer. Michael Ann Glotfelter, PsyD, will finish the remaining year of her two-year term representing the DoD.

The SIG business meeting focused on building momentum from year one with particular emphasis on soliciting members’ opinions regarding strategies to increase the SIG’s visibility in SBM between annual meetings. One proposed initiative would seek access from VA Health Services Research & Development service to link both SIG and non-SIG members to VA Cyber Seminars on behavioral medicine research presentations ranging from pain management to implementation science. In addition, the SIG will attempt to better advertise the many outstanding career and education opportunities available in VA and DoD through the listserv.

Leveraging the benefits of SBM membership, the SIG will aim to foster professional social networking. To accomplish this aim, the SIG will explore opportunities to support early career researchers and professionals by connecting them with mentors and training opportunities. In light of the rapid transformation of DoD/VA healthcare services, it is important to elevate the importance of behavioral medicine in Requests for Applications (RFAs) for DoD/VA-sponsored research through ideas and collaborations developed through the SIG. Finally, based on the success of this year’s social event at a local Asian fusion restaurant, the SIG will also plan to make a social get-together an essential annual meeting event to build long-term relationships among SIG members.

In preparation for next annual meeting in Philadelphia, the SIG officers are seeking programming ideas to sponsor from members. We strive to provide programming that is appealing to our members, so please feel free to offer suggestions on topics of interest to you. Feedback from this year’s business meeting advocated for a cross-SIG pre-conference workshop that would focus on practical application. The interdisciplinary nature of the MVH SIG membership especially lends itself to cross-SIG programming. 

The MVH SIG invites all SBM members to join our commitment to promoting research, prevention, policy development, and education with the goal of translating evidence-based behavioral medicine interventions into clinical care for all Veterans, military members, and their families. We invite any interested members to join the MVH SIG by contacting any of the board members; David Goodrich (David.Goodrich2@va.gov), Michael Ann Glotfelter (michael.glotfelter.1@us.af.mil), or Denise Martin-Zona (denise.martin_zona.2@us.af.mil).