Amid the avalanche of news, information, fake news, and alternative facts in the past few months, I want to bring to your attention some actual information sure to be valuable to you. The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is among the most significant partners and friends of SBM. OBSSR is the primary advocate for BSSR at NIH, from the Office of the Director through all the Institutes and Centers. Not only is the scope of OBSSR and SBM similarly broad, but the close connection is illustrated by virtually all Directors of OBSSR being long-time members of SBM, including several Past-Presidents.
As member delegate, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the inspiration behind some of the key themes at the SBM meeting in San Diego in March under the leadership of Dr. Jim Sallis. Like many SBM members, I’m passionate about finding ways to improve preventive behaviors in underserved communities and to help reduce health disparities among racial/ethnic groups. However, I’m frequently challenged by translating the findings of my research into policies and fear that the communities I’m most concerned with benefit little from the research my colleagues and I conduct.
With the 2017 Annual Meeting quickly approaching, it is important to highlight the meeting theme of “La Buena Vista: Expanding Horizons of Behavioral Medicine” which will focus on the following cross-cutting subthemes: Translation of behavioral medicine research into policy and practice, addressing health disparities, demonstrating how digital tools can positively influence health outcomes, obesity across the lifespan, prevention and treatment in clinical care and social context and health behaviors.
While there have always been career opportunities outside of academia for behavioral medicine professionals, perhaps now more than ever before, SBM members are working outside of academia or are considering non-academic career paths. Reasons for this include an increase in non-academic jobs for individuals trained in behavioral medicine, particularly in the area of digital health, changes in the federal funding climate for research, and access to adequate compensation for the time spent working, among others.
In November 2016, SBM President Jim Sallis, Ph.D. charged a Working Group on Genomics and Behavioral Medicine to foster discussion regarding opportunities and concerns about genomics translation in behavioral medicine. The working group aims to engage the SBM membership to leverage SBM’s influence toward shaping the narrative regarding genomic translation. Below we share ideas from a few working group members.
This article features an interview with Dr. Winnifred Cutler, PhD, founder of The Athena Institute for Women’s Wellness, Inc.
Although the U.S. spends more on medical care than any other industrialized nation, and though its citizens are among the wealthiest in the world, they suffer poorer health and live shorter lives than people of many other countries.1 This health-wealth paradox has largely been attributed to failure to address important social and behavioral determinants of health,2 such as tobacco smoking, poor diet, obesity, physical inactivity, and alcohol use.3 Solutions to improve the U.S. population’s health require efforts to address complex interactions among environmental, social, and behavioral factors at the population level rather than through individual pursuits of clinical care for acute and chronic disease. At this time, however, the U.S. underinvests in social services that address and influence social and behavioral determinants of health.2
Dr. Cheryl L. Holt, PhD, FAAHB is a professor in the department of Behavioral and Community Health at the University Of Maryland School Of Public Health. For over 15 years, Dr. Holt has worked on a number of projects focused on community-based health communication studies and the role of religion and spirituality in health cognitions and behaviors. Her most recent project involves testing efforts to integrate sustainable health education in African American churches. The Spirituality and Health SIG interviewed Dr. Holt, as a leader in the field, to get her perspective on establishing her career.
The Society of Behavioral Medicine’s (SBM) Obesity and Eating Disorders SIG recently interviewed Dr. Milagros C. Rosal, Tenured Professor of Medicine in the Division of Preventive & Behavioral Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). Dr. Rosal is a clinical psychologist and nationally and internationally recognized expert in health equity interventions and community-engaged research to reduce health disparities among disadvantaged groups in the population.
Many of us within the EMMH SIG have been reflecting on the political events that have been unfolding since January 20th. Most recently, the executive order on immigration has left us with heavy emotions as we contemplate its widespread implications. There is no doubt that these political actions have ignited an important dialogue regarding the future of diversity and inclusion in our country. Limiting diversity at all levels of scientific research stymies progress and runs counter to the goal of improving the health of all individuals.
The Student SIG interviewed Valerie H. Myers, PhD, Senior Scientist at Klein Buendel, Inc. and member of the ETCD Council. They talked with Dr. Myers about how to get the most out of your dissertation and her responses are summarized in the following article.
The Child and Family Health Special Interest Group (CFH SIG) interviewed SBM fellow and recipient of the CFH SIG Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr. Alan Delamater, to gain insight into how he approaches diabetes research from a child and family health perspective.
In 2014, there were 14,249 homicides in the U.S., an estimated 702,000 children (unique incidents) were victims of abuse and neglect, there were 5,479 hate crimes reported to the FBI, and 9,000,000 people were physically assaulted by an intimate partner. Experiences of violence have been demonstrated to contribute to a host of physical health problems including neurological, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, dental, opthalmologic, genito-urological, endocrinological, and oncological (see COLEVA for specifics on causal pathways). But in 2014, the Society for Behavioral Medicine had no special interest group on violence and trauma.
SBM's two journals, Annals of Behavioral Medicine and Translational Behavioral Medicine: Practice, Policy, Research (TBM), continuously publish online articles, many of which become available before issues are printed. The following articles were recently published online in Annals or TBM.
Congratulations to the following SBM members who recently received awards or were otherwise honored. To have your honor or award featured in the next issue of Outlook, please email email@example.com.
The following Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) members and their research were recently featured in news articles or videos. To have your news spot featured in the next issue of Outlook, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the SBM Job Opportunities page for additional positions.
SBM’s website has been re-designed. The new site, launched this week, features a refreshed look and streamlined menus so it’s easier to find the content you need. Check out the updated site here. Don’t forget—SBM’s website is mobile-friendly so you can easily read content on your phone or tablet. Special thanks to SBM’s Website and Social Media Team for leading this project.
More than ever I encourage you to read many of the articles in this Winter issue of Outlook as it includes information relevant to most all SBMers. Dr. Sallis’ President’s Message gives us reason for excitement as we can take advantage of the Strategic Plan created recently by OBSSR and the NIH. There is also very valuable information on increasing the impact of our work by looking at articles by the Population Health SIG as well as the newly formed Violence and Trauma SIG. In response to the survey readers recently completed we also include an article from the Digital Health Council and other SIGs on non-academic/industry career options for SBMers. Many of the articles also include interviews with leaders in their respective fields and is seen as a response to Outlook readers’ survey responses asking for information from those who may serve as mentors. Hearing from leaders in the field is not just for the students and early career professionals in SBM, but can be enlightening for many of us seeking a better understanding of how those we admire think about their careers. Happy reading!
--William J. Sieber, PhD
40th Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions
March 6-9, 2019