By Julienne Heimerl-Lee
The Alaska Association for Behavior Analysis (AKABA) was formed in January 2014 and became affiliated with ABAI in March 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, 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 (www.alaskabehavior.org) for current events, news, and membership information. Limited local and state resources combined with the ongoing recession, global COVID-19 pandemic, national resource and labor shortages, and a tumultuous national political environment have all contributed to it being another complicated year for AKABA. Given these uncertainties, AKABA held no annual conference in 2021. The major theme of 2021 was continued advocacy to protect and promote the core mission of AKABA and support the greater Behavior Analytic community of professionals in providing high quality services in challenging situations.
We narrowed our focus in 2021 as our members adapted to changes in practice due to frequently fluctuating guidance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our main direction for advocacy was to facilitate communication amongst members who are helping each other to work directly with the State of Alaska on correcting Medicaid billing issues that have affected providers in the state. AKABA has also worked with our state licensing agency to address the need to clarify and structure expectations for the LBA license to better align with BACB Certification criteria. Continued efforts toward 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 will be strongly recommended.
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 2021 and supported two continuing education events through our professional partnerships. The number and amount of CE events has dramatically declined in the past three years due not holding an annual conference, limitations on in-person gathering, and limited available resources for presenters and audiences.
4th Annual Conference
Due to the ongoing global pandemic, the fourth annual AKABA Conference was not scheduled in 2021. The AKABA board worked to re-establish the Conference Planning Committee to host either one conference or two mini-conferences in 2022 with a focus on virtual presentation with hopes that a hybrid in-person/virtual option may be available in the near future. It may be beneficial to continue to support virtual/in-person hybrid conference options in the future as this could be a way to support continued engagement with behavior analysts supporting rural communities.