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 2021 with over 600 members! We had a slight increase over 2020 membership but are not back to our pre-COVID numbers of over 800 members. 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 contracted position, an administrative director.
Based on member survey data, we decided to update 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 – Strengthen the Diversity and Cultural Competence within VABA and the Behavior Analysis Profession across the Commonwealth;
- Goal 4 – 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. We are very excited to add Goal 3 this year.
This year, we can’t wait to get back to our in-person conference in April. After two years of virtual conference, we are ready to see everyone again. Our new location-based special interest groups in Central VA, Tidewater, Northern VA, Roanoke, and Southwest VA are offering additional professional development events to serve our members, and in February, we held an in-person billing workshop. Our Marketing & Membership; Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Dissemination, and Public Policy Committees continue to meet and do the heavy lifting for our organization.
This year, with our lobbyist’s help, we introduced a bill to add behavior analysts to the list of mandated reporters in the Virginia Code. We also secured a resolution to designate March 14–20 Behavior Analysis Week in the Commonwealth. Additionally, Virginia Medicaid adopted our Category 1 CPT codes late last year.
In 2021, VABA distributed four newsletters that were each opened by half of our membership or more. We published fifteen blog posts with information that affects practitioners in Virginia. We communicated to over 1,700 people via Facebook, over 1100 via Twitter, and over 300 people on our newer Instagram Account. We also began using LinkedIn to communicate. We publicized more than 40 jobs on our website. We made the decision to continue with a virtual conference in April 2021 and had almost 250 attendees and fourteen sponsors. 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, location-based special interest groups, 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 at least quarterly and stay in continual contact to provide benefits that our members request and need. We are proud to represent behavior analysis in Virginia.