It’s been an incredible year, one that I could never have imagined. We’ve accomplished a great deal together: a new brand, industry meeting, podcast, grand rounds series, successful journal migration, and important work to better integrate ethics and diversity into our administrative structures. But I’m most proud of our members’ heightened energy, activation, and commitment to improve the public’s health.

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My SBM Moves

In anticipation of #sbm2018, some colleagues started a fun campaign:

My entry:

And in case you’re wondering, this is a staged reenactment of what is a daily source of excitement for the girls (and a driver of my personal investments in ibuprofen).

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An SBM surprise is coming

We have a big surprise coming at this year’s SBM annual meeting. Here are some hints:

  • Rhymes with a great Stephen King book.
  • Think of a fantastic former-Duke basketball player who started for the Sixers.
  • One of things that’s made Apple, Xerox, and Klennex famous.

Stumped? Just hang around after the awards ceremony on Thursday evening (immediately following my talk).

Hate guessing games? Read my editorial in this month’s edition of Outlook.

See you in NOLA!

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Anthem acquires ScaleDown

Good science + good friends + wanting to do good + good-ish caffeine + good [hard] work + good luck = Scale Down.

I’m thrilled that our labor of love has been acquired by Anthem. I’ll have a lot more to say soon, but let’s go with this for now:

Thanks, Kate. Thanks, Dori. Thanks, Leah. Thanks, Users. Thanks, Starbucks (they open early).

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Brands matter a lot [in science]

From Daniel Kahneman, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics (technically the The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences) and originator of the field of behavioral economics (a.k.a., hottest thing going these days).

I’d like to observe that the term “behavioral economics,” as it is used today…that’s really social psychology… It’s principles about how to affect behavior. And it is remarkable, and some people find it sad, that social psychology had to disguise itself as economics before it had an impact on the culture.

And that’s because economics has a better brand than psychology.

Maybe Justice Roberts might rethink his view of sociology as “sociological gobbledygook” if we just decided to call it socio-statistical finance?

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Time to extend our reach

Our message to the behavioral medicine community (and anyone else who wants to ensure healthcare access in the U.S.).

This is a critical time for the field to extend its reach beyond the bounds of our profession. In the current popular context, our science is at best unrecognized, and at worst, devalued. This is perhaps best exemplified in the efforts to reform and repeal the Affordable Care Act; despite the clear long-term economic benefits of broadly implementing behavior change solutions, prevention has been all but ignored (except for defunding the Prevention and Public Health Fund). Similar efforts have been undertaken to reduce the federal funding that supports the majority of our research. It is particularly timely to engage with industry; they are a primary dissemination channel for our innovations, an increasingly common employer for our trainees, and always a potential source of research funding. In just the past decade, multi-billion dollar markets have emerged—most notably in digital health—with little inclusion of behavior change science. Given the field’s historical challenges with dissemination and its increasing interest in the area, it would be folly to ignore the primary conduit of health innovations to the public. Without greater public engagement, Americans will remain challenged in their ability to discern good behavior change information from bad. As was well demonstrated in the 2016 presidential election, it is particularly important for the field to communicate with segments of the public that have been traditionally uninterested in, or suspicious of, our science. When we disengage from those who reject menu labeling or beverage taxation policies with cries of, “nanny state,” we neither win the battle nor the war. We are not ignorant as to the challenges we face and we do not believe that engagement alone will solve these problems; however, it is undeniable that our disengagement will confer no benefit.

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