Photo by Callum Stewart on Unsplash

By Kristin Riall

The Alaska Association for Behavior Analysis (AKABA) was formed in January 2014 and became affiliated with ABAI in March of 2016. Alaska Association for Behavior Analysis is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a goal to promote the science and theory of behavior analysis through the support of research, education, and practice. Alaska Association for Behavior Analysis membership is open to everyone interested in behavior analysis in Alaska.

Membership benefits include low cost CEUs, discounted registration for the annual AKABA Conference (hopefully resuming in 2021), access to private members-only online forum, and updates on legislation and other events related to the practice and research of behavior analysis in Alaska. Please visit our website for current events, news, and membership information.

2020 was a challenging year for AKABA and its members. The ongoing recession, global COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustices, and a tumultuous national political environment have all contributed to it being a complicated year. It has been a year of advocacy and maintenance of many of AKABA’s core systems. The AKABA leadership attempted to maintain and promote member participation despite the cancelation of the annual AKABA conference.

The major theme of 2020 was continuing many of our core mission offerings—namely advocacy and professional development for our practitioners.

Continued Advocacy
We narrowed our focus in 2020 as our members adapted to changes in practice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our main focus for advocacy was determining how to address the State of Alaska licensure board’s decision to allow people holding the QASP certification to become Licensed Behavior Analysts. The executive board met in December to decide how to move forward and determined that more information was needed regarding another new credential, the QBA. Once this information has been gathered, the board plans to meet with a representative from the State of Alaska. Our leadership deliberated upon the implications of including credentials other than those from the BACB since the state laws currently refer to the BACB’s certification in the eligibility criteria for licensure and whether there is a need for a governing body over the LBA license, especially with regards to ethics.

AKABA has helped to facilitate communication amongst members who are helping each other to work through Medicaid billing issues. The members discussion board on the website has served as a way to notify others of changes and issues.

Currently, AKABA is receiving information about these topics through notifications from our members. Moving forward, it is strongly recommended that AKABA designate a representative to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Governor’s Council, and other advocacy groups to ensure that the field of behavior analysis is accurately and fairly represented.

Professional Development/CEUs
AKABA became a formal Authorized Continuing Education provider in late 2018 and with the support of members of our executive board, AKABA provided two direct member events in 2020. Through professional partnerships, AKABA supported two additional events (CBAI and the ABAI OER SIG). Our capacity to provide CEUs was reduced due to the uncertainty surrounding our annual conference, which was scheduled for June 2020, then postponed and eventually cancelled.

4th Annual Conference
Due to the ongoing global pandemic, the fourth annual AKABA Conference was postponed. The conference was scheduled for June 12–13 at UAA. The program included several high-profile behavior analysts. Luckily, all of the speakers have agreed to participate in the re-scheduled conference. The AKABA Conference Committee is considering a hybrid (face-to-face & virtual) or possibly an entirely virtual conference in the future. Once the format and date(s) have been determined, an announcement will be forthcoming. Although the conference was postponed, the AKABA Conference Planning Committee deserves a heartfelt thanks for all of their efforts. The members were Aimee Smith, Mychal Machado, Kristin Riall, Julie Heimerl-Lee, Rachel White, Veronica Howard, Summer LeFebvre, Kelly Forestal, and Eric Murphy.

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