An Update From the SABA President

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

By Erin Rasmussen

The Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis (SABA) was started over 40 years ago to provide financial support to promote and advance the field of behavior analysis. The three primary manners by which SABA achieves this are (a) supporting students, (b) globally promoting the science, and (c) providing a platform of recognition for our most impactful and inspiring leaders. This report updates our members on these activities during the past year.

2022 SABA Awards
Each year, SABA recognizes five distinguished individuals or institutions of our field by honoring them and their impact with awards. We hope you will join us at the opening ceremony of the 2022 ABAI convention in Boston (COVID pending, of course) to recognize and celebrate these outstanding individuals and institutions and their accomplishments:

  • Deisy de Souza for Distinguished Service
  • Steve Higgins for Scientific Translation
  • Vincent Carbone for International Dissemination
  • Martha Hübner for Effective Presentation in Mass Media
  • Drake University for Enduring Programmatic Contributions

We congratulate each of these awardees for their sustained energy and efforts in promoting the field of behavior analysis.

Supporting Students
Another way to advance the field is to nurture the next crop of scientists and practitioners. As such, SABA annually provides financial support to Student members to offset registration for the annual convention. This not only allows students to engage in learning about the cutting-edge research happening in the field, but it also allows them to present their own research, and connect to other professionals in our international community that are present at our convention. For the 2021 convention, which was virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SABA funded 44 Student registrations via the Senior Student Presenter Grant and an additional 175 Student registrations via the Student Member Registration Campaign.

In addition to funding convention attendance, SABA also supports research initiatives of the most promising students by offering Innovative Student Research grants for research spanning basic and applied behavior analysis. The Science Board evaluates these grants and makes recommendations to SABA for the top proposals. This year, Innovative Student Research Grants were awarded to Sarah Peck (Utah State University) and Tanya Gupta (Arizona State University), who each received US$3,000 grants for their dissertations. In addition, Paige Currie (West Virginia University) and Natalie Colon (Florida Institute of Technology) each received US$1,500 for their theses. The Sidney W. and Janet R. Bijou Grant ($10,000), which funds research that spans behavior analysis and development, was awarded to Ji Young Kim (Columbia University). Also, new this year to SABA is the Innovative Student Research Grant in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). These grants, which are reviewed by the DEI Board, foster culturally significant research that is related to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This year, the $5,000 award went to Alexandria Muldrew (University of Minnesota). Congratulations to these outstanding students!

Global Outreach
SABA has a priority to expand behavior analysis globally. An example of this initiative is the International Development Grant. These monies fund behavior analytic projects all over the world. This year, a total of $6,500 in grants for International Development was awarded to the following five individuals: Zahera Analfooz (Bahrain), SangWeon Aum (Korea), Alvaro Clavijo (Columbia), Iris Pelizonni (Italy), Loukia Tsami (Liberia, Kenya, and Botswana), and Serife Yucesoy-Ozkan (Turkey). Congratulations to these prominent members of our global community!

Public Awareness
SABA also awards grants for projects that disseminate the science and practice of behavior analysis to the general public. This year, a total of US$12,500 was awarded for projects submitted by Jennifer Austin (United Kingdom Society for Behaviour Analysis), Chaturi Edrisinha (Oakland University), Alexandra Herman (Hungrarian Association for Behavior Analysis), Varsovia Hernandez Eslava (Universidad Veracruzana), and Sunyoung Kim (University of Illinois at Chicago). Congratulations to these exceptional ambassadors to the field of behavior analysis!

Interdisciplinary Approach to the Treatment of Autism
In 2020, the Doreen Granpeesheh Interdisciplinary Approach to the Treatment of Autism Fund was established. This fund is for developing opportunities for behavior analysts to collaborate with other disciplines on advancing the most effective practices and treatments for autism. Initially, the fund will sponsor presentations on autism from professionals outside the field. For example, at the 2021 convention, Dr. Richard Frye, a child neurologist with expertise in neurodevelopmental and neurometabolic disorders, gave an outstanding talk on “The Medical and Biological Complexity of Autism,” with a virtual meet-and-greet afterward. We look forward to continuing to develop ideas for interdisciplinary collaboration on the treatment of autism.

We are grateful to individuals and organizations such as those listed above, but we are also grateful to all of our members. You not only work to keep our science and practice strong, but you also contribute to improving the well-being of society. Another way that you give of yourself is to contribute generously to SABA. We are deeply grateful for your generosity and hope you will continue to donate to the growth and advancement of behavior analysis.

SABA’s funds indeed are established by the contributions of many ABAI members and donors from the discipline. To date, SABA has supported nearly 200 research, development, and dissemination projects through grants, and —since 2011–has helped fund convention registration for 941 students. When you donate to SABA, you can donate either to long- or short-term funds, and you can select the area of where your donation will be used. Long-term funds will be kept in perpetuity. SABA manages the principal of these funds, and the interest on them is used for grants to support research and advancement of behavior analysis.

Some of the largest contributions have been made by individual donors. Many of our most generous members and supporters have also arranged for bequests to SABA, ensuring that their legacy after death continues to promote behavior analysis. Our major capital campaign donors are honored at the ABAI headquarters, where SABA operations are handled. Gold, Silver, and Bronze level donors are recognized on a donor recognition installation titled, “Understanding Behavior, Transforming Lives, Shaping Our Future (2014–2016).” Each major donor is commemorated with a glass tile etched with their name, photo, and year of donation. This piece is on display in ABAI’s lobby and is open to the public. Thank you to all of our donors; your contributions—small and large—advance our field.

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