Highlights from the 2017 APA convention in Washington, D.C.

Div. 28 program chair, Kelly Dunn, PhD, recaps a very successful convention.

By Kelly Dunn, PhD

This year’s convention program was very successful. Day one featured presentations from Div. 28 award winners Elizabeth Holly, James Mahoney and Dorothy Hatsukami, as well as from newly-elected fellows Thomas Gould and Ming Lee. We also convened a paper session regarding methods for treating opioid use disorder in the context of the ongoing epidemic. Day two began with a translational session that presented preclinical and clinical data on alcohol and drug use in adolescents and early adults. We then debuted our Addiction and Behavioral Science Datablast. The datablast featured student and early career psychologist (ECP) presenters who were presenting posters or talks as part of Divs. 28 and 50 (Addictions) programming. Presenters had two slides and two minutes to discuss their research. The stakes were high because they could not see the time clicking down and the few who failed to finish in two minutes heard the dreaded buzzer go off during their presentation. Overall, the event was light-hearted, fast-paced and fun, and the research that was presented was outstanding, especially considering the restrictions imposed. Presenters and audience members were then able to reconvene at the poster session that immediately followed, which resulted in lively discussions for the entire hour-long session. Days three and four were equally exciting and focused on technological approaches to addressing HIV, nicotine and tobacco use among women of reproductive age and maintaining scientific integrity when psychology interfaces with business and media. Finally, Div. 28 President David Festinger summarized some of his important research to round out the program.

Division 28 Convention Highlights

Thomas Gould, PhD (left), and Ming Li, PhD (right), presented on their program of research and were honored by Matthew Johnson, PhD (middle), who heads the Div. 28 Fellows Selection Committee.

Introducing our newest Div. 28 fellows

Thomas Gould, PhD (left), and Ming Li, PhD (right), presented on their program of research and were honored by Matthew Johnson, PhD (middle), who heads the Div. 28 Fellows Selection Committee.

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In addition to Div. 28-specific programming, our division also sponsored and/or contributed to five collaborative programs that spanned a diverse array of topics such as emerging technologies for presentations: the use of positive reinforcement to promote behavior change, which featured an interactive demonstration on “shaping” behavior; comorbidities of pain and disability; the therapeutic value potential of illicit drugs such as cannabis and psilocybin and HIV/AIDS science and practice in psychology. These programs were interactive and designed to appeal to members of several divisions. They were all highly attended and well-received, and they helped increase the visibility of the important work being completed by our membership. Finally, several division ECP members were selected for the annual Early Career Investigator Poster Session and Social Hour, which was co-sponsored by Divs. 28 and 50, with corresponding travel awards provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Overall, our divisional programming exemplified some of the division’s major values. It successfully highlighted both basic science and clinical work, it showcased Div. 28 members as experts in clinically-relevant topic areas that impact society on a broad scale, such as infectious disease transmission, the opioid epidemic and ethics in psychology. It also made several opportunities for students and ECPs to present their data available. We hope those of you who attended enjoyed the convention as much as we did. We also hope you will all consider submitting abstracts for APA’s 2018 Annual Convention in San Francisco so we may continue to promote the scientific and clinical contributions that you make to APA and society more broadly.