Founding Conference of the Behavioral Medicine Research Council

Kenneth E. Freedland, Ph.D.

The Founding Conference of the Behavioral Medicine Research Council (BMRC) was held in Washington DC on December 10-11, 2018. The BMRC is an autonomous joint committee of the Society for Health Psychology (SfHP), the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research (ABMR), the American Psychosomatic Society (APS), and the Society for Behavioral Medicine (SBM).

The mission of the BMRC is to identify, prioritize, and promote strategic goals for behavioral medicine research. These are ambitious, long-term goals whose achievement will depend on the concerted and persistent efforts of well-organized multidisciplinary research networks. SfHP and the other three organizations agreed to form the BMRC in response to a growing awareness that stronger research evidence is needed to convince the gatekeepers of health care services to embrace evidence-based behavioral interventions.

John M. Ruiz, PhD and Karina W. Davidson, PhD, are SfHP’s representatives on the BMRC. Dr. Davidson is also the first Chair of the BMRC. The other representatives include Karen A. Matthews, PhD and Greg E. Miller, PhD for ABMR, Elissa S. Epel and Suzanne C. Segerstrom, PhD for APS, and Michael A. Diefenbach, PhD and Tracey A. Revenson, PhD for SBM.

The Founding Conference brought together the members of the BMRC with leaders of the founding organizations; stakeholders and advisors from the extramural research community; representatives from major funding agencies and other organizations including the National Institutes of Health, the Veterans Administration, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the United States Preventive Services Task Force, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the International Behavioural Trials Network; and the Editors-in-Chief of several leading journals in health psychology and behavioral medicine.

SfHP President Nancy Ruddy PhD spoke to the group about how SfHP and the BMRC can contribute to each others’ missions and activities. John Ruiz, PhD (SfHP Member at Large) and Dawn Wilson, PhD (SfHP Past President) discussed ways for the BMRC to incorporate population diversity and health disparities perspectives into its work. Daniel Bruns, PsyD (SfHP Member at Large) participated in a panel discussion on opportunities to influence guidelines, policies, payers, and health care delivery systems. A number of other SfHP members participated in the meeting as well. The conference was organized by Kenneth Freedland, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Health Psychology.

January 1, 2019 marked the official start-up date of the Behavioral Medicine Research Council. As SfHP’s representatives, Drs. Ruiz and Davidson will work with the leadership of SfHP to ensure that the members of the Society for Health Psychology have further opportunities to contribute to the BMRC’s mission and that they are informed about the BMRC activities.