An Update from the SABA President 

By Ruth Anne Rehfeldt 

For the field of behavior analysis to prosper, needed are innovative projects that expand the scope and breadth of science and practice. The Society for the Advancement of Behavior (SABA) has supported the efforts of individuals and organizations to do just this for nearly five decades. SABA’s support and recognition have been applied to students, individuals and organizations that promote discipline across the globe, and leaders whose pioneering work in research, teaching, and service has advanced the field in any number of ways.  In appreciation of the contributions to our field made by those recognized, this report delineates the SABA awards and grants that were awarded this past year.   

2023 SABA Awards 

The 2023 SABA Award winners were as follows. A brief summary of the meritorious work of those recognized is also provided:  

Distinguished Service to Behavior Analysis: Linda Hayes.  

Linda Hayes is a Distinguished Faculty Emerita at the University of Nevada, Reno. Linda co-founded the Behavior Analysis Program at the University of Nevada on a self-capitalization model and served as its director for over a decade. She has received many awards for her contributions to behavior analysis, including the Fred S. Keller Award for Teaching of Behavior Analysis and a SABA Award for Enduring Contributions to Behavior Analysis for the program she founded. Linda similarly founded UNR’s Satellite Programs in Behavior Analysis around the world. She was the recipient of a Global Engagement Award from the University of Nevada and a SABA International Development Award. Linda served two terms as ABAI President and has held a number of other leadership positions in the organization.  

Scientific Translation: Ken Silverman  

Ken Silverman has been on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for over 30 years and is currently a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Ken has developed pioneering operant-based treatments to address community poverty and health challenges. Ken has investigated abstinence reinforcement interventions for the treatment of heroin and cocaine addiction, financial reinforcement to promote and maintain viral suppression in adults living with HIV; computer-based training to establish academic and job skills that chronically unemployed adults need to gain and maintain employment and escape poverty; and a reinforcement-based therapeutic workplace to promote and maintain drug abstinence and employment. All of these related research lines have focused upon low-income adult populations. Dr. Silverman’s volume of published research has shown that operant reinforcement can sustain long-term therapeutic behavior change in addressing chronic health problems, and that the therapeutic workplace is effective in treating drug addiction, promoting employment, and reducing poverty.  

International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis: Zuilma Gabriela Sigurðardóttir  

Zuilma Gabriela Sigurðardóttir has worked on the dissemination of behavior analysis in Iceland and Europe for 30 years, including as a therapist, consultant, and adjunct faculty member at the University of Iceland, while also being an administrator and developer of services for individuals with developmental disabilities in Reykjavík. She entered academia full time in 1999 as assistant professor of behavior analysis in the psychology department of the University of Iceland. She has guided and supervised approximately 190 student research projects for thesis in behavior analysis at all levels, including the only PhD thesis in behavior analysis in Iceland. She has aided Icelandic students to find programs of study in behavior analysis in the United States and Europe since 1998 and has guided them in the application process. She was recipient of the SABA international development grant in the year 2000. She served president of the European Association for Behavior Analysis, was an exchange teacher at the University of Latvia with Erasmus fellowships, and co-coordinated the first conference on behavior analysis in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2016.  

Effective Presentation of Behavior Analysis in the Mass Media: APOPO  

APOPO’s overarching goal is to implement innovative solutions to protect communities and the planet. APOPO operates a participatory research and learning culture in which rats and other scent detection animals are trained to detect mines and tuberculosis in affected countries. APOPO has created jobs and cultivated a work-force in regions experiencing socioeconomic challenges. APOPO became an independent mine action operator in Mozambique in 2007, and has since worked across the globe to carry out mine action operations in three countries. APOPO’s work in presenting behavior analysis in the mass media can be viewed on their website: 

Enduring Programmatic Contributions in Behavior Analysis: Oslo Metropolitan University  

The master’s program in Behavioral Science – formerly known as Learning in Complex Systems – admitted its first students in the Fall of 2004 and was accredited by ABAI in 2010. In the Fall of 2022, 135 students were admitted to the full- and part-time programs. Along with a solid grounding in theory and research methods in behavior analysis, students complete elective courses in applied behavior analysis and write a thesis in the form of a scientific article. The department of Behavioral Science also runs an ABAI-accredited bachelor’s program in psychology with an emphasis on behavior analysis, and a Ph. D. program in behavior analysis. Department faculty are internationally recognized scholars in the field. The program values interdisciplinary efforts, and works to integrate behavior analysis with complexity science, network analysis, and economics, offering elective courses in OBM, risk management, behavioral economics, and early intervention.  

2024 SABA Awards 

The following individuals and graduate training program will be honored at the SABA Awards Ceremony at the 2024 Annual Convention. As in past years, this event will be held on the opening morning of the convention: 

Distinguished Service to Behavior Analysis: Jay Moore 

Scientific Translation: Jomella Watson-Thomas 

International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis: Dermot Barnes-Holmes 

Effective Presentation of Behavior Analysis in the Mass Media: Stuart Vyse 

Enduring Programmatic Contributions in Behavior Analysis: Teachers College, Columbia University 

2023 Grants 

Following review, the following individuals were awarded grant funds from SABA to support the completion of specific projects related to the aims and mission of the organization. The purpose of each funding opportunity is also delineated.  

Innovative Student Research. The purpose of this program is to provide funding for students in psychology or behavior analysis doctoral programs and students in psychology or behavior analysis master’s programs that can support applied or basic research in the experimental analysis of behavior.  

Innovative Student Research, Master’s Thesis 

  • Carla Marinez-Perez 
  • Molly Mattes 
  • Skylar DeWitt 
  • Madison Graham 

Innovative Student Research, Doctoral Dissertation 

  • Sarah Davis 
  • Jacqueline DeBartelo 
  • Carolyn Ritchy 

Innovative Student Research Grant in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  The purpose of this grant is to support graduate-level study of issues relevant to diversity, equity and inclusion within the field of behavior analysis.  

  • Cassandara O’Hara 
  • Hannah Vance 

Sidney W. and Janet R. Bijou Grant. The Sidney W. and Janet R. Bijou Grant provides support for doctoral student research designed to incorporate behavioral principles to the study of human development. 

  • Abbie Cooper 
  • Kristen Newell 
  • Anna Kate Edgemon 

International Grant. The purpose of this grant is to increase opportunities for individuals and organizations that do not have the necessary resources to communicate important behavior analytic information and knowledge on a worldwide scale. 

  • Aladin El Tagi 
  • Sunyoung Kim 
  • Sarah Mead Jasperse 
  • Yifei Sun 
  • Krystal Kennedy 
  • Javier Virues-Ortega 

Public Awareness Grant. Purpose: This funding mechanism supports projects designed to deliver messaging focused on behavior science and behavior analytic solutions to important problems. Projects in which messaging is grounded in scientific evidence and which target an audience that has not yet been reached by existing initiatives are typically selected.  


  • Maeve Donnelly 
  • Adam Hockman 

Interdisciplinary Approach to the Treatment of Autism. The Doreen Granpeesheh Interdisciplinary Approach to the Treatment of Autism Fund was established in 2020. The purpose of this funding mechanism is to support collaborations between behavior analysts and other disciplines dedicated to evidence-based treatments for autistic individuals. Currently, this fund is used to support an invited presenter at the annual convention who offers a diverse perspective on the diagnosis and treatment of autism. For 2023, Dr. Timothy Buie of Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital was the invited speaker, and delivered a presentation entitled, “Considering the Medical Factors Contributing to Behaviors in Autism.”   

Senior Student Presenter Fund. The purpose of this fund is to support qualified student applicants with complimentary registration for an ABAI event.  In 2023, 49 senior student presenters were sponsored.  

On SABA Funds 

SABA assets are divided between restricted and unrestricted funds. Restricted funds are used exclusively for their stated purpose (whether determined by donors or the SABA Board of Directors) and may be permanent or temporary. Permanent restricted funds are generated from the annual return of the principal of a donation and/or by new donations. Temporary restricted funds result from one-time donations for a discrete purpose. Unrestricted funds are not designated for a specific purpose and are allocated by the SABA Board to support the society’s activities. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, SABA accepts tax-deductible donations. 


With Thanks 

SABA expresses enormous thanks to individuals and organizations who have made donations of any size to support the outstanding work of the individuals recognized during 2023. Gold, Silver, and Bronze level donors are recognized on a monument in the ABAI office lobby, a photo of which is shown below.  

Congratulations to the 2023 award and grant winners for their tireless contributions to the field!   

About Author