Outlook: Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine

Summer 2018

Update from SBM 2018: Themes From a Discussion of Career Path Challenges for Students

Education, Training, and Career Development (ETCD) Council Corner

Amy G. Huebschmann, MD, MS, ETCD Council Chair

Welcome to the “ETCD Council corner” of Outlook. In each issue of Outlook, look to the ETCD Council corner for information related to our mission, which is to provide SBM members with opportunities and support to enhance their training and career development throughout all phases of their careers in behavioral medicine.

At the SBM 2018 annual meeting, the ETCD Council partnered with the Student SIG to provide a panel discussion on career paths. The session was titled “Nuts and Bolts: A Practical Q&A about Your Education and Career Trajectory.” This interactive discussion was attended by students and other SBM members in the early phases of their career. Panelists included a senior student chair, an academic psychologist, an academic nutritionist and a psychologist working in industry.

The attendees raised important questions for the panel about how to navigate challenges in their career. The themes discussed included:

  • The importance of choosing a dissertation topic of appropriate scope.
  • Approaches to finding the right fit in a postdoctoral position.
  • Navigating different types of career paths, including how to plan for a “traditional” academic career versus planning for a “non-traditional” career in behavioral medicine, such as working in industry or the public health sector.
  • The importance of honest communication with one’s mentorship team in such domains as planning publications and approaching mentors about difficult/awkward topics.
  • How to anticipate forks in the road during careers and using what could seem to be a career crises to one’s advantage.
  • Managing work-life balance.

The ETCD Council plans to continue to collaborate with the Student SIG to offer panel discussions on topics relevant to students at the 2019 Annual Meeting and in future years. We welcome input from students and other early-career members as to the types of topics we should address at next year's meeting. Please e-mail Andrew Schmidt at aschmidt@sbm.org if you have a suggestion for us.