Highlighting the SAB Podcast!


Episode 6, Society of Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference 2023

Our pediatric psychology community will reunite again in two short months at SPPAC 2024. As we look ahead to this year’s conference, let’s take a moment to reflect on SPPAC 2023. In the latest episode of the Pediatric Psychology Podcast, SPP Podcast Co-Chairs Karen Dimentstein and Ashley Lahoud interviewed Dr. Soumitri Sil and Dr. Naadira Upshaw, the chair and co-chair of SPPAC 2023. They also heard from you, the 2023 conference attendees!

The Society of Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference is an exciting opportunity for our members to connect and learn from each other. When asked what she looked forward to most at SPPAC 2023, Dr. Sil highlighted the amount of interest and submissions related to the conference theme and noted feeling overwhelmed and impressed by the high-quality and rigorous work our members are doing regarding social justice. Dr. Upshaw shared her excitement surrounding how our members incorporated social justice into their work, conference plenary speakers, and the ability to publish abstracts in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. Throughout the episode, we heard attendees consistently mention being excited for invaluable opportunities to reconnect with friends, colleagues, mentors, and trainees and the opportunity to forge new connections. SPPAC 2023 attendees also shared their excitement about learning about the social justice aspect of the conference this year.

The salience of the conference theme, “Pediatric Psychologists as Social Justice Change Agents Across Science, Practice, Training, and Policy,” was highlighted across attendee responses, but how did the theme emerge? Dr. Sil shared how she attended the Anti-Racism Grant Symposium in 2022 and was inspired as she listened to fellow pediatric psychologists. From there, the idea grew organically, and together with a larger team, Dr. Sil and Dr. Upshaw worked to infuse this theme into all conference decisions, including being intentional about programming and increasing the conference’s accessibility and inclusivity.

The excitement surrounding SPPAC 2024 is palpable; however, the annual meeting can also elicit nervousness and apprehension surrounding making those new connections. Dr. Sil, Dr. Upshaw, and 2023 attendees shared their advice for individuals attending the conference.

Dr. Sil, “Sometimes early on in our training, people may feel nervous about introducing themselves and reaching out. Across all stages of your professional career, use SPPAC as an opportunity to introduce yourself to new people. Really be intentional about learning more about somebody or the work they are doing so that we can continue to help SPP and SPPAC grow into feeling more welcoming.” Further, “SPPAC is only as great as the work our members are submitting. Submit your work so that we can really use SPPAC as a space to highlight all the things that are happening that we need to disseminate.”

Dr. Upshaw, “First, bring a friend or colleague who has never been to SPPAC or has taken a hiatus from SPPAC because the conference is only as great as the work that is submitted and the people who show up. Secondly, go to a talk or session that is outside of what you do on a day-to-day basis. There are so many opportunities to learn different things at SPPAC, and you might be really surprised and intrigued about what you can take away from talks that historically might be a little bit different from what you typically do. Third, give yourself a day to rest after SPPAC!”

Advice from SPPAC 2023 attendees included networking and introducing yourself to as many people as possible, including your rock stars, even when it feels uncomfortable, packing lots of snacks, and taking breaks when you need to recharge.

The episode is available on Spotify and Google Podcasts and can be accessed using the links below. Thank you to SPP Podcast Co-Chairs Karen Dimentstein and Ashley Lahoud, SPPAC 2023 Chair and Co-Chair Dr. Soumitri Sil and Dr. Naadira Upshaw, and the 2023 conference attendees who participated in this podcast.