Outlook: Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine

Spring 2021

Developing the Leaders for Behavioral Medicine: Introducing SBM’s Early Career Researcher Mentoring Program and SBM Diversity Institute for Emerging Leaders

Courtney Bonner, PhD; Steering Committee Chair, Diversity Institute for Emerging Leaders; Education, Training, and Career Development (ETCD) Council member and Carina Nigg; Steering Committee Chair, Early Career Researcher Mentoring Program; ETCD Council and Student SIG liaison and member


Welcome to the “Education, Training, and Career Development (ETCD) Council corner!” In each issue of Outlook, the ETCD provides SBM members with opportunities and support to enhance their training and career development in behavioral medicine. In this issue, we highlight two new training opportunities for early-career members: the SBM Early Career Researcher Mentoring Program and the Diversity Institute for Emerging Leaders. These opportunities seek to support members and develop strong, diverse leaders in behavioral medicine and for SBM.

The Student SIG and the ETCD Council are sponsoring SBM’s first Early Career Researcher (ECR) program in collaboration with the Health Equity SIG, which will kick-off during the 2021 SBM Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions. The ECR program is an exciting opportunity for SBM´s early career researchers to receive mentoring from an SBM expert and from peers to pursue a goal in a relevant topic area across the field of behavioral medicine. Topics include, for example, digital health; diversity, equity, and inclusion; grant writing and funding opportunities; and general career consultation. The program is targeted towards graduate students and post-docs. Groups of mentees will be matched with experienced SBM members to offer support toward their goals. Peer mentee groups will meet with the mentor bimonthly for one year. During alternating months, peers-only groups will meet to work on their goals.

We experienced a great interest in the program, receiving 53 mentee applications. We wish the mentees and the mentors all the best for the mentoring year! We are planning to offer this program on a regular basis. If you are interested in participating, keep your eyes open for the next call!

The Diversity Institute for Emerging Leaders was developed out of a workgroup commissioned by Past President Dr. Gary Bennett and led by President Dr. Monica Baskin from 2018-2019 to ensure that the principles of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity were institutionalized within SBM. The Institute was scheduled to launch during the 2020 Annual Meeting and Scientific Session, but due to COVID-19 it was postponed. However, we are happy to announce that the ETCD Council will sponsor the first Diversity Institute for Emerging Leaders during the 2021 Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions!

The past year illustrated the dire need for equity in every institution of our nation, including in research and medicine. The SBM Diversity Institute for Emerging Leaders seeks to address this need by helping early-career SBM members develop into effective, thoughtful leaders through fostering leadership skills and a deep understanding of the principles of diversity and inclusion. The Institute will kick-off with a 2-day virtual training with Dr. Kumea Shorter-Gooden, a renowned Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant. Throughout the year, 24 participants will develop their leadership skills and deepen their understanding of diversity and inclusion through quarterly learning opportunities and mentoring. After the year-long institute, participants will be able to identify their leadership strengths and areas for improvement; recognize their “blind spots” related to diversity and inclusion; respond to challenges related to diversity and inclusion, and use their leadership skills to implement and/or advocate for inclusive practices or policies within their sphere of influence. We look forward to welcoming our first class of leaders!