Outlook: Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine

Spring 2021

A Year Like No Other

Monica Baskin, PhD, SBM President

Monica Baskin, PhD, SBM president
Monica Baskin, PhD
SBM President

I can hardly believe that we are only a few short weeks away from the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s (SBM’s) 42nd Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions. This meeting has already been historic as SBM’s first ever virtual conference and the first time our annual meeting will be held over one week (April 12-16, 2021). The meeting this year features 20 pre-conference workshops, a full slate of scientific sessions, world-renowned keynote speakers and master lectures, social networking opportunities, and the ability to participate from the comfort of your own home or office with a combination of live and on-demand sessions. While it will not be the exact same experience as we all would have preferred, the Board’s decision last summer to move to a virtual conference this year allowed the Program Committee and SBM staff to carefully plan the upcoming meeting. I have had the honor of a front row seat to the hard work, creativity and determination of this group to make this year’s meeting informative, engaging and fun. Trust me, this is one meeting you do not want to miss out on (so register today if you haven’t already).   

The annual meeting focuses on my presidential theme Let’s Go All IN: Inclusion, Innovation, Influence. I hope that you will tune in to my keynote address on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 from 12-12:50P.  I look forward to sharing with you some of the ways that our members and Board have gone All IN this past year. SBM committees, councils, SIGs, and other groups of members have been more intentional about bringing diverse perspectives to the table and insuring better representation in our work. In addition, I am in awe of the many ways that members and partners have continued to come up with so many new and creative ways to disseminate evidence-based practice and messages to reach the broadest possible audiences in the face of unique challenges this past year (COVID-19, systemic racism, political uncertainty, economic instability). It has also been a year that has reaffirmed that we cannot go this road alone. Multiple collaborations within SBM and with other organizations have helped us to further exert the significance of behavioral science and medicine in addressing the complex behavioral and health issues plaguing our society.  

As the annual meeting also cements my final days as president of SBM, I am honored and proud to have been entrusted with the responsibility of leading this amazing society. I am even more excited about the years to come. The Board recently adopted a new strategic framework to guide SBM over the next five years. This framework was developed with significant input from a survey of our membership (current and past) and past annual meeting attendees, followed by a two-day virtual retreat of the Board and special guests that was facilitated by an expert consultant. You will learn more details about the framework in communications to the membership in the weeks to come, but four things stick out to me from this work.  

  1. We must reaffirm our identity and keep up the quest that SBM will no longer be the “best-kept secret in health and medicine.”
  2. We must do more to develop the current and future behavioral medicine workforce to take on current and emerging issues.
  3. We must educate, inform and bring awareness of our science to diverse audiences, beyond our fellow behavioral scientists. 
  4. We must use our powerful voice to advocate for policies and practices that ensure that our proven science is equitably distributed to achieve better health for all.   

With these new goals for the society, I hope that you will also Go ALL IN and Invest. Before your mind starts to wander, SBM is in strong financial standing thanks to so many on the Board who have been great stewards of our resources. However, our current revenue is not sufficient to match the ambitious goals that the membership has laid out for our next five years. As such, you will soon receive communication about the full launch of the SBM Proven Science – Better Health Giving Campaign and I will also speak to this during my presidential keynote. We recognize that not everyone will be in a position to give and the amount of gifts will vary significantly, but every amount helps bring us closer to the large-scale impact that we know SBM can make in the world.  

Thank you for affording me this opportunity to lead the best professional society there is in a year like no other. I look forward to “seeing you” at the annual meeting!