The growing SPPAC was a great success.
By Lisa Schwartz, PhD
The 2014 Society of Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference (SPPAC) was held in Philadelphia March 27 to 29. This was the first conference known as SPPAC and the first time we have had a national conference two consecutive years.
Our attendance was record-breaking—661 attendees. Almost 30 percent reported that this was their first pediatric psychology conference. Like other years, almost half of the attendees were students or trainees. We also had attendees from all over the world including Europe, South America, Australia and the Middle East.
Some unique features of the 2014 conference were the addition of more workshops (six total), more breakout sessions (two concurrent sessions with three separate symposia in each session), an international speaker, the presentation of SPP awards and talks from select awardees, a research blitz session and early career psychologists participating in the mentorship lunch. As in past conferences, we had many poster sessions, receptions for connecting with colleagues and networking, SIG meetings, and a keynote and diversity speaker.
Attendees were asked to provide feedback via an online survey. Almost half of attendees responded. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. The percentage of respondents that rated the quality of conference components as a 4 or 5 out of 5 was as follows: Overall rating of conference = 85 percent, workshops = 85 percent, symposia = 83 percent, invited talks = 80 percent and the blitz session = 50 percent. There was a great deal of valuable feedback presented on individual sessions, configuration/format, poster sessions, food, facilities, travel materials, and suggestions for future conferences. When asked what was liked best about the conference, the most common theme was networking and reconnecting with colleagues, students, and mentors, thus reflecting the personal connections that make SPPAC so special.
As SPPAC continues to grow and gains first-time attendees, there is a need to increase formal efforts to welcome and integrate new attendees. There is also a continued need to balance clinical practice and research content and to include varied and cutting-edge content.
Thank you to those who helped with SPPAC, attended SPPAC, completed the survey and have reached out to provide suggestions and offers to help for 2015. I am truly grateful for the honor to have served as the 2014 SPPAC chair.
2014 SPPAC Student Poster Award Winners
Kristen Bailey, MA
Meredith Bishop, MA
Laura Cousins, MA
Laura Gayes, MA
Marissa Gowey, MA
Christina Holbein, MA
Jennifer Lee, MA
Kristin Loiselle, MA
Jennifer Rohan, MA
Tori Van Dyke, MA
Two hundred sixty-five students received a $20 bill at the SPPAC for a total amount of $5,300.