By Christy Evanko
The Virginia Association for Behavior Analysis (VABA) is the affiliate chapter of ABAI in Virginia. We represent behavior analysts in Virginia and ended 2020 with over 600 members! Unfortunately, most likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our membership decreased by 26%. The Commonwealth of Virginia has the ninth largest certified BCBA-Ds, BCBAs, BCaBAs, and RBTs (combined) in the United States. The association has been in existence since 2003 and is a 501(c)(6) organization. VABA contracts with a lobbyist and has one paid position, an administrative director.
Based on member survey data, we decided to continue the strategic components of our goals:
- Goal 1: Improve viability and sustainability of the organization.
- Goal 2 – Provide quality service to our members.
- Goal 3 – Advocate for the science of behavior analysis in the Commonwealth.
We are frequently monitoring our strategic plan to find better ways of serving our members.
In 2021, we held a hybrid conference in Newport News in April and online via Whova. We formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee that has had a great response and started a Dissemination Committee that continually works to disseminate the science of behavior analysis around the Commonwealth. We built a supervision search engine to help supervisees and others find mentors and vice-versa. Finally, we are started special interest groups based on location to serve our members’ needs better.
With our lobbyist’s help, we introduced a budget amendment to conduct a rate study to move to our Category 1 CPT codes for Medicaid billing. Currently, we use the Multi-Systemic Therapy code to bill, and the rates are not tiered. We have an active Policy Committee and are continually looking for areas to facilitate and disseminate behavior analysis in Virginia.
In 2020, VABA distributed four newsletters that were each opened by half of our membership or more. We published four blog posts with information that affects practitioners in Virginia, including public comment recommendations. We communicated to over 1,600 people via Facebook, over 1,400 via Twitter, and over 200 people on our newer Instagram account. We publicized more than 30 jobs on our website. We made a quick shift to a virtual conference in April 2020 and had over 200 attendees and seven sponsors. The COVID-19 pandemic curtailed our in-person continuing education events and networking happy hours, but we held six Webinars and a three-part Student Symposium. We published an annual report on our website: www.virginiaaba.org/about/annual-reports/.
VABA Membership offers many benefits, including an annual conference, networking opportunities, quarterly newsletter, CEU offerings (including the conference and beyond), members-only resources including supervision resources and a search engine, lobbying and policy efforts, and discounts on a variety of outside products. The VABA Board of Directors works diligently to make sure we are relevant to behavior analysts in Virginia. We meet quarterly and stay in continual contact to provide benefits that our members request and need. We are proud to represent behavior analysis in Virginia.