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2018 Society of Behavioral Medicine – by Katrina Mateo, DPH student

Conference Attended: 2018 Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA (April 11-14, 2018)

Relevance to Public Health: SBM is a vibrant, multidisciplinary society focused on the role of behavior in improving health, and whose vision is “better health through behavior change”. SBM members include the nation’s leading scientists and practitioners, and SBM annual meetings are the premier forum for the most influential behavioral medicine research.

My Personal Learning Objectives

  1. Present and gain feedback from multidisciplinary professionals regarding an interactive nutrition comic intervention (Intervention INC)
  2. Learn how technology is being incorporated/integrated into behavior change intervention
  3. Learn about pragmatic intervention study designs and best practices related to implementation and real-world translation

Conference Recap

I attended SBM with the Principal Investigator of the Intervention INC study (Dr. May May Leung) and the Lead Research Assistant (Sandra Verdaguer, MPH), and we presented findings from data collected throughout our 2-year study to develop and evaluate a technology-optimized interactive nutrition comic aimed at improving dietary-related behaviors among at-risk (low-income, minority) preadolescents and feeding-related behaviors of their parents. Our presentations (4 posters and 1 oral presentation) were well-received from attendees. Most questions/discussion topics related to how the intervention was developed and what methods were used (e.g. co-designing with youth/parents, usability testing).

Whereas in past years, there was a focus on web-based tool or mobile app development for behavior change, there was a greater focus this year on how to gather, process, and analyze “big data” or data collected via digital health tools and technology-integrated interventions. There was also greater emphasize on ensuring that patients or your focus population are integrated in the design and implementation process to ensure relevance of the intervention and increase the likelihood of acceptability and adoption.

I learned about an adapted approach to quantify and integrate (in a more balanced, structured, and intentional way) the needs/preferences of researchers and that of members of your study population. In addition, a common theme throughout the conference this year was the importance of collaboration across disciplines and sectors, and ensuring to communicate your work and findings beyond the institution, and especially to policymakers.


Interested in receiving funding to attend and/or present at a conference or workshop relevant to public health? Apply for funding here!

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