By Angelica Aguirre, PhD, BCBA-D

The Massachusetts Association for Applied Behavior Analysis (MassABA) was established in 2010 to support the science and practice of behavior analysis in Massachusetts. As the home of over 3200 BCBA®s, 162 BCBA-D®s, and over 1900 BCaBA®s and RBTs®, Massachusetts boasts among the highest per capita concentration of certified behavior analysts in the world and an active behavior analytic community. The vision of MassABA is to serve as the trade organization for its community. MassABA has focused its efforts to fulfill this vision by:

       Supporting behavior analysts seeking licensure by assuring that licensure applications are processed in a timely manner.

Supporting legislation that would strengthen the licensure process in Massachusetts with the creation of a separate licensing board for behavior analysts.

Supporting the expansion of insurance coverage for ABA services.

Advocating for timely reimbursement of ABA services by state funding sources.

Expanding regional continuing education events for behavior analysis practitioners in more remote locations of the region.

Expanding interaction and correspondence with MassABA members via social media.

Advocating for behavior analytic professionals practicing in public schools by organizing a monthly networking event and advocating for adequate support for BCBAs in public schools.

Hosting an annual conference that brings diverse behavior analytic voices and applications to our membership.

Summary of 2022:
Annual Member Meeting and Election Update:
     The Annual meeting of MassABA members occurred on 6/7/22, and included a CE Event, announcements and information sharing from MassABA committee chairs, and initiation of an election for MassABA board of director members and officers. Fifty-five (55) members of MassABA attended and participated.

     MassABA completed a Strategic Planning Process in 2018 and has continued to steadily implement the strategic goals identified in this plan. The majority of the strategic initiatives are facilitated via committee work.
A summary of each of the committee’s initiatives and goals is included below. An election was held in 2022, with new officers and Members-At-Large being voted onto the Board of Directors by MassABA members.

Public Relations/ Advocacy Committee Update:

     This committee of MassABA was created in 2021 as the Policy & Procedures Committee and was renamed in 2022. This committee remains focused on leading challenging conversations within the field of ABA related to public policy, legislative issues, and positions relative to the application of applied behavior analysis. MassABA recognizes the complexity of the issues facing the field today and seeks to create open dialogue while continuing our strong advocacy work in this arena. 

     MassABA will continue to engage with members, stakeholders, and the general community through the development of written position papers. With an eye to advancing difficult conversation in the field, MassABA has developed public opinions on matters of importance, including creating and announcing a position on the use of contingent electric skin shock (CESS) as behavioral treatment (this position statement was posted in 2021). The chapter will continue this work by creating additional position papers in the upcoming year. MassABA hopes others will feel empowered to share their opinions on critically important issues that shape the lives of individuals and impact the longevity of the field in a broader sense.

MassABA recognizes the rapid changes in our society that impact the practice of applied behavior analysis in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MassABA seeks to create a space for inclusivity of ideas and open dialogue and to promote the many positive ways ABA has and will continue to make positive changes in the communities where individuals providing and receiving ABA live and work.

Legislative Committee:

     Over the past year MassABA’s legislative committee has continued to work with our state government leaders to keep them abreast of issues of importance to our membership. This included working collaboratively with BABAT on the development of a bill that would create a separate licensing board for behavior analysts. Such a board would be comprised of behavior analysts and would focus solely on the licensure of behavior analysts rather than multiple disciplines under the licensing board. MassABA will include a session on updates from the licensure board via the board representatives at the annual conference in 2023. In addition, MassABA remains actively involved with advocacy for legislative endeavors that impact behavior analysis in the commonwealth, including support for expanding the equitable access of ABA services to people of all ages and abilities.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Committee:

     This committee of MassABA was created in the spring of 2021. Its mission statement was developed and published on the MassABA website in April 2021. Initiatives of this committee in 2022 have included a survey of members to gather information about the diverse representation of MassABA members, sharing of the survey results with the committee and Board of Directors and development of goals based on these results. In addition, the committee facilitated several CE Events, including a panel discussion of service perspectives of neurodiverse individuals and several journal article discussions, all facilitated by the Committee Chairperson. This committee meets

Professional Development/ Conference & Events
Committee Update:

     MassABA has a history of holding an extraordinarily successful annual conference, typically drawing over 700 participants. This event was held remotely in 2022 and again drew over 700 total attendees. CEs were provided as part of the cost of conference tickets.  There were a wide range of topics and prominent speakers including Pat Friman, Greg Hanley, Nasiah Cirincione-Ulezi, Laura Grow, and Steve Woolf. The conference committee offered brief virtual events for our members on a variety of topics based on feedback from members. MassABA saw an increase in student member participation in CE Events over 2022 and will continue to foster involvement of students of ABA in MassABA initiatives.

     MassABA initiated a CE Series in the spring of 2023 around the theme of “Successful ABA Service Delivery”.  This began with a CE Event titled: Measuring Joy in Early Childhood ABA Sessions”, presented by Jennifer Posey of Endicott College in Massachusetts. This series will continue through the spring of 2023. MassABA also cosponsored CE Events with Insurance Resource Center of UMASS and ACCEPT Educational Collaborative for behavior analysts working in public school settings.

Public School Committee:

     The MassABA Public Schools BCBA Group currently has 211 BCBAs representing 70 public school districts across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition to being an active support network to public school BCBAs, this group provides monthly CE events that focus on public school related issues. This year’s topics have emphasized ways for BCBAs to incorporate a greater focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in schools, promoting evidence-based practices, and addressing common ethical challenges in providing behavior-analytic services in schools. Some notable highlights have included the following presentations: Addressing Racial Bias in Education: A Behavior Analytic Approach (May Beaubrun, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA), Practical Functional Assessment (PFA) and Skill-Based Treatment (SBT): Applications in Public Schools (Greg Hanley, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA), and Clinical and Ethical Considerations for Treating Students with Mental Health Diagnoses (Jillian Bennett, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA).

Social Media Committee:

     This committee was established in 6/21 to focus on the use of social media platforms to increase member engagement. MassABA currently has Twitter and Facebook groups, as well as a chapter website. During 2022, the Social Media Committee focused on updates/revisions to the chapter website, as well as frequent interaction with MassABA members via an active Facebook Group, which currently has 1600 + followers. Upcoming goals include the creation of monthly blog posts and sharing of CE Events throughout the year via social media outlets.


     MassABA looks forward to continuing at the forefront of policymaking and professionalization of service provision in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We recognize that the rapid growth of providers of ABA services requires that the field step up to meet the challenge of supporting these new practitioners with resources to help ensure that they are providing high quality and effective ABA services. Through our social media, community outreach, CE events and advocacy, MassABA will continue to disseminate the positive impacts of the science of ABA with a larger audience and focus its efforts on ensuring quality service provision in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and elsewhere.

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