2023 SPPAC CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS

SPPAC 2023 in Chicago was one of our highest ever attended conferences! We convened with over 1,000 pediatric psychologists and learners to share our work and call to action as social justice change agents! So many people have commented on the positive palpable difference in the conference this year and the mission to re-define our swim lane.

With the amazing expansion of SIG, RIG, and Affinity Groups, SPPAC was extended to allow time for group meetings before and after the in-person conference. We are hopeful that this allowed more member participation and connection, even if you could not join us in the windy city. The 3 days of the in-person conference this year included a wealth of amazing content. There were 3 invited plenary speakers, 15 scientific symposia, 10 professional development seminars, 10 pre-conference workshops, 3 poster sessions, Internships and Fellowships on Parade, and networking events across the career lifespan.

This year, 100% of the oral presentations were relevant to the conference theme, 100% of the scientific symposia incorporated patient and family voices, 53% of oral and 52% of poster presentations included presenters who identified as belonging to a historically underrepresented group, 26% of oral and 40% of poster presentations were from first time SPPAC attendees, and 60% of posters were first-authored by students.

Certainly, our conference would not have been the wonderful experience that it was without the tireless efforts of our students. We had a fantastic mentoring lunch, service event supporting By The Hand, and a podcast corner created by our Student Advisory Board (SAB). We would like to send a special thank you to all of the students who participated in any capacity this year, including our SAB leader, Perry Catlin, as well as Desiree’ Williford, Ariel Blakely, Isabella Sereno, and student ambassadors.

We are also enormously proud of our efforts to make the conference more inclusive and accessible by:

  • Providing food accommodations for our attendees observing Ramadan
  • Discounting registration rates for first-time attendees who identify as members of historically underrepresented groups
  • Providing American Sign Language interpretation
  • Including an advocacy table with our very own Dr. Amy Beck who serves as our advocacy liaison to APA

Thankfully, as we reflect on the meeting this year, we will have a way to memorialize it through the publishing of accepted poster and paper abstracts in the recently published supplemental issue of the Journal of Pediatric Psychology! We are appreciative of our JPP editor, Dr. Avani Modi, in helping to make this happen for the first time this year! It was also so wonderful to see the work of our society moving around the Twitterverse, and big thank you to our SPPAC Communications team (including Dustin Wallace, PhD, Nicole Fleischer, PsyD, Christina Salley, PhD) and everyone who posted, liked, and shared content for #SPPAC2023.

We extend a very special thanks to our plenary speakers: Daniel Dawes, JD, Harolyn Belcher, MD, MHS, and David Huebner, PhD, MPH, whose talks motivated us to consider the other ways in which we could move as social justice change agents within pediatric psychology.

Congratulations again to the distinguished award winners honored at SPPAC:

  • Carolyn S. Schroeder Award for Outstanding Clinical Practice: Elizabeth Turner, PhD
  • Dennis Drotar Distinguished Research Award: Larry Mullins, PhD
  • Donald K. Routh Early Career Award: Aaron Fabion, PhD
  • Michael C. Roberts Award for Outstanding Mentorship: Tina Drossos, PhD
  • Wright Ross Salk Award for Distinguished Service: Bryan Carter, PhD
  • SPP Award for Distinguished Contributions to Diversity: Kira Branch, PsyD

A tremendous thank you to our amazing SPPAC 2023 Chair, Soumitri Sil, PhD, ABPP, and co-chair, Naadira C. Upshaw, PsyD. Thank you to the scientific program committee, abstract reviewers, presenters, volunteers, and Executive Director Incorporated (EDI) for your help in making this year’s conference run smoothly. We are all looking forward to seeing each other next year in New Orleans!