President’s Column

Dawn K. Wilson, PhD
Dawn K. Wilson, PhD

Dawn K. Wilson, PhD

It has been with great pleasure that I have served as the President of the Society for Health Psychology during this past year. Reflecting back on the year, we have made great progress with regard to our theme of “Broadening the Impact and Visibility of Behavioral Sciences in Health Care and Health Policy.” Some of the terrific highlights include strengthening our relationships with the APA Science Directorate on advocacy issues, with the Practice Directorate on policy and practice issues, and with the Center for Psychology and Health on integrated primary care training at a national level.  These relationships should continue to flourish as we roll out our new Health Policy Council this August at the APA meeting in Washington DC on August 3-6, 2017.

Our Outreach Task Force also has had a very successful year and I am grateful to Alan Christensen, Chair of the Clinical Health Services Council and Robert Kaplan, Member of the Outreach Task Force for their continued support in assisting me with organizing a special working group to evaluate the applications of cost/effectiveness analysis for behavioral and psychological interventions. Although standardized methods for cost/effectiveness have been developed and have been widely applied in medicine, we have seen few applications in Health Psychology.  The purpose of the working group meeting is to review current recommendations for cost/effectiveness analysis and to appraise whether they are appropriate for studies in our field.  We are planning a two-phase approach to developing white papers on methodology, prevention, collaborative care, and dissemination.  During the first phase we will develop detailed outlines, and during the second phase we will have another larger working group meeting to develop full drafts of the white papers and recommendations for application and dissemination of these methods for our field.

Our upcoming SfHP Annual Meeting Program looks outstanding and I would like to extend a special thank you to Joanna Buscemi for her dedication and hard work as Program Chair in putting together an exceptional program (see Joanna’s piece on the program in this issue for full details) . There are a number of important talks that will be given that address health policy issues, and my presidential address will specifically focus on “Evaluating the Impact of Behavioral Interventions through Dissemination and Implementation Science.

Over the past year, I have reflected on the continuing challenges of disseminating and translating evidenced-based behavioral interventions from the field of health psychology to public health settings.  These challenges include the fact that many of our behavioral interventions address multiple behaviors, and include complex theoretical intervention components that may not be easy to translate into community and clinical health-related settings. My presidential address will provide an overview of four critical models of dissemination and implementation science that incorporate focusing on a population level approach in developing interventions (RE-AIM model), and addressing causal mechanisms that may be most relevant and effective for impacting target populations of interest (Behavioral Taxonomy approach to behavioral change).  These two models/approaches both highlight a greater need for integrating critical intervention components that can easily be accessed and utilized from a population-based perspective. However, these models are less focused on addressing the important issues of capacity building and motivational issues, which are critical to behavior change treatments.

Specifically, models from researchers in the field of community psychology and health economics also provide important principles for developing processes that can effectively build capacity and incentives for integrating behavior interventions into health care and community settings. These models are based on a growing evidence-based literature that increasingly is recognized as important and promising from a dissemination and implementation science perspective.

Examples from my past 15 years of conducting community-based intervention trials will be highlighted in my talk to emphasize the importance of understanding the challenges we face in the area of disseminating and translating our evidence-based interventions. Specifically, I will provide examples of how to simplify theoretical intervention constructs, build motivation and increase capacity for sustainability intervention effects.  Furthermore, I will outline recommendations for applying dissemination and implementation models to on-going research in the field.

Hope you will join us at the annual APA meeting this year for all the timely presentations and exciting speakers!! Looking forward to seeing you there in Washington DC on August 3-6 and to celebrating all our successes!!!!

All the Best,
Dawn K. Wilson, PhD
Twitter: @profdawnwilson