Outlook: Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine
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New Multi-Morbidities SBM Special Interest Group

Jerry M. Suls, PhD, Organizer, Multi-Morbidities SIG

This is an invitation to all SBM members to join a new SBM Special Interest Group (SIG). The Multi-Morbidities SIG will be an interdisciplinary group of researchers, clinicians and educators who want to promote increased understanding of patients with two or more physical disorders.

The dominant tendency in behavioral medicine has been to focus on one physical condition at a time. However, it is common - especially among older adults - for people to have two or more physical diseases (multi-morbidities) or to be at risk for other diseases by having or being treated for an index condition.

Multi-morbid conditions often have common risk factors and pathogenesis, and are the targets of similar behavioral interventions. The term "complex" or "complicated patient" has sometimes been used to refer to someone with multi-morbidities. In 2011, the National Cancer Institute sponsored a two-day workshop about patients with both cancer and cardiovascular disease. The high level of engagement and exchange that occurred during the workshop suggested that there is a need for an ongoing discussion of multi-morbidities in behavioral medicine. A special interest group would afford the opportunity to consider health promotion, treatment, and common biological mechanisms for translational research across disease siloes. See the Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch (BBPSB) section of the National Cancer Institute's website for additional information.

A Multi-Morbidities SIG meeting will be held at the 2013 SBM Annual Meeting in San Francisco to establish leadership positions and terms for rotation. The meeting will most likely be a breakfast roundtable. We also look forward to multi-morbidities SIG-related posters and presentations next April and hope to see you at our SIG meeting.

If you would like to join this new SIG, please send your name and email address to Ben Stumpf at bstumpf@sbm.org, and you will be included in the Multi-Morbidities SIG email listserv.