By DC ABA Members

District of Columbia ABA (DC ABA) has celebrated its fifth year. Although technically, the District of Columbia is actually quite small geographically, its metropolitan area extends to nearby states of Maryland and Virginia (aka, the DMV). Currently, there is no licensing of behavior analysts in DC. As such, insurance companies that reimburse licensed behavior analysts will not credential behavior analysts in DC. ABA-based treatment providers must make individual agreements with insurance companies that state that they only credential behavior analysts who are licensed. Families of children with disabilities and persons with disabilities also lack the protection of quality of services that licensing of behavior analysts allows. The District of Columbia also has a different political structure than the sovereign 50 states. It has a city council and mayor but is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress which may impact any licensure effort in the District. Our neighbor affiliate chapters (VABA and MABA) have graciously supported the establishment of a DC ABA to focus on the specific needs of families and ABA providers in the District and the surrounding Metropolitan area.

DC ABA’s mission is to promote the professional practice, ethics, research, and dissemination of behavior analysis, and to provide its members with support and continuing education opportunities within the field of behavior analysis. DCABA commits to promoting diversity and inclusiveness in our organization and within the field of behavior analysis.

Executive Board
DC ABA is governed by an Executive Committee composed of the elected offices of President, Past-President, President-Elect/Vice President, and three At Large Representatives. The Committee is completed by the appointed positions of Secretary, Communication Officer, DEI (diversity, inclusion, and equity) coordinator, and Treasurer. The 2022 Executive Board consists of Saundra Bishop, BCBA, LBA (President), position not filled (President-Elect/Vice President), Lera Joyce Johnson, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA (VA & MD; Past-President/ At Large), position not filled (At Large) , Mary Caruso-Anderson, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA (VA & MD; At Large), Colleen Williams, M.Ed, BCBA (Communication Officer), Gabrielle Torres, BCBA, LBA, IBA (DEI Coordinator). The Executive Board meets once per month.

Working Committees
In order to meet the goals and initiatives of the organization, DC ABA has working committees headed by a representative of the Executive Board. Other members of each working committee are drawn from the general membership. The Membership Committee focuses on supporting members of DC ABA (i.e., trainings, resources, socializing) and growing the number of members, which includes behavior analysts, other professionals, RBTs, parents, allies, etc. The Program/Conference Committee focuses on organizing any events (i.e., annual conference, special events, etc.) for DC ABA. The Marketing/Publications Committee focuses on creating and maintaining all printed and online publications of DC ABA, including social media posts, blog, and resources for membership and public educational purposes. The Public Policy Committee focuses on furthering the regulated practice of behavior analysis in Washington, D.C., including research of licensure initiatives across the country, drafting ABA licensure laws for D.C. and working for their ratification. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee (D&I Committee) shall be led by the DEI Coordinator. The primary duty of the D&I Committee shall be to ensure that the events, actions and activities of the DC ABA Board and its Committees take into account, and promote, diversity, equity and inclusion.

DC ABA offers four categories of membership: Full Membership, Professional Membership, Affiliate Membership, and Student Membership. Full membership is available to any individual holding an active behavior analyst credential, for example BCBA or BCBA-Ds or other credentialed behavior analysts. Full members may vote on membership decisions of the chapter. Professional membership is available to any individual holding an active BCaBA or RBT credential. Affiliate membership is available to any individual who has evidenced interest in the discipline of behavior analysis. This membership category may include parents or family members of clients, community members, teachers, individuals in related services or providers of services to mutual clients of behavior analysts. Student membership is available to any individual pursuing formal training in the discipline of behavior analysis. Currently, benefits at each level include discounted CEUs and event registrations.

Currently, DC ABA has declined from 50 members in 2020 to 13 members as of September 2022. Of those, 9 hold Full memberships, 0 Professional, 2 Affiliate, and 2 Student memberships.

Events and Activities
Our first year: DC ABA became incorporated in February 2018 and became an affiliate chapter of ABAI in March 2018. Dechert law firm assisted DC ABA (pro bono) with the complicated process to apply for non-profit status in DC. This process was delayed due to the government shutdown, but we received our non-profit status May 10, 2019 and became an affiliate chapter of APBA November 20, 2019.

In 2021, Executive Board members presented at ABAI:

  • Caruso-Anderson, M., Johnson, L.J., Bishop, S., Torres, G., Escobar, C., Schock, K., Zaklis, E., Jackson, J.L., Williams, C., & Hoffman, F.D.A.L. (2021, May 30). ABA service provision and Medicaid in the District of Columbia, In symposium: Lessons learned by behavior analysts from areas working on fully implementing an ABA Medicaid benefit. Presentation at the 47th Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, Virtual Conference, May 28-31, 2021

Our primary focus in 2022 will be to facilitate the submission of a licensing model act in the District of Columbia. Other goals include increasing resources for mentoring young professionals and parents, increased membership, including recruiting parent members.

Visit us online! DC ABA has established a social presence through its website ( ), Facebook (DC ABA), and Twitter (@districtaba).

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