SPP 2023 Fall Virtual Conference Highlights

The Society of Pediatric Psychology’s annual virtual fall conference is an exciting venue for disseminating high quality research from long-standing leaders and earlier career members as well as for supporting trainees. This year’s conference took place on September 29, 2023 with the theme, Improving the Reach of Pediatric Psychology through Innovative Research Applications. We had outstanding engagement from both within and outside of the Society of Pediatric Psychology, including 187 registrants representing psychologists, undergraduate and graduate students, interns, fellows, and community members. Our Student Advisory Board also sponsored a wonderful Student Mentoring Event leading up to the meeting, and we were pleased to provide trainee sponsorship through our Student Inclusion Scholarship. The all-day conference highlighted three sessions led by Drs. Lori Crosby, Tonya Palermo, and Grayson Holmbeck that incorporated two additional symposia speakers per session:

  • Crosby’s session focused on anti-racism strategies in all levels of behavioral research, from leading and supporting a study team to patient engagement, as well as the use of design thinking in developing new and innovative interventions. Drs. Ariel Williamson and Kimberly Canter presented complementary research on family engagement and equity (including digital health equity) in intervention research. Collectively, the session highlighted what meaningful family and community engagement can look like and how anti-racism and culturally sensitive practices can enhance both research and study teams.
  • Palermo’s session focused on the development of pediatric pain interventions, the promise and limitations of digital health, opportunities for promoting inclusion, diversity, and equity, and navigating a career in pain science. Drs. Anna Hood and Christine Sieberg followed with presentations that expanded on the themes of racial and gender equity in pain science and translational research (research to practice and bridging behavioral and biomedical research). The overall session highlighted the importance of persistence and collaboration as well as the role of pediatric psychologists in reaching and advocating for patients overlooked in pain science.
  • Holmbeck’s session focused on the progression of his program of research on self-management and transition for patients with a rare condition, spina bifida, including unique obstacles that arose and how he overcame those challenges. Expanding on this theme, Drs. Marisa Hilliard and Katie Devine followed with their progression of work building research programs to support transition and self-management in type 1 diabetes and cancer (including digital health), respectively. Taken together, the session highlighted both challenges and strategies for persisting through barriers that arise when innovating and tailoring research to meet the needs of specialty care populations.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to and attended the conference. We look forward to seeing you in September 2024!

Alyssa Schlenz, PhD, 2023 Virtual Fall Conference Chair
Allison Stiles, PhD, 2023 Virtual Fall Conference Co-Chair and incoming 2024 Chair
On behalf of the Science, Practice, & Education Committee