Call for Papers: Special Issue in Behavior Therapy

Special Issue Title: Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Development: An Experimental Therapeutics Focus on Novel Mechanistic Targets

Special Issue Guest Editors: Michael W. Otto, PhD and Jeffrey L. Birk, PhD

The core of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) experimental therapeutics approach is a focus on specifying and then rigorously testing potential mechanisms by which treatments may exert their beneficial effects. The purpose of this special issue for Behavior Therapy is to put a direct focus on the “pipeline” of potential mechanistic targets for behavior change by presenting a series of empirical papers on novel mechanistic variables. We encourage submitted papers that investigate mechanistic variables in research reflecting an early stage of intervention development prior to clinical trial testing. This special issue highlights research that follows the recommended NIH Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) developmental format of: (1) identifying hypothesized mechanisms of behavior change, (2) utilizing reliable measures of those mechanisms, (3) conducting experiments to influence those mechanisms, and/or (4) testing whether influencing a hypothesized mechanism indeed yields behavior change (see Nielson et al., 2018, BRAT; Riddle et al., 2015, Translational Behavioral Medicine). For the series, we are interested in empirical articles offering elements #1, #2, and/or #3 that present new data showing the identification of novel mechanistic factors that may underlie behavior change, as relevant to psychopathology or negative health behaviors. Relevant to element #1, identification of novel mechanistic targets often starts by showing associations with psychopathology cross-sectionally and longitudinally. The focus will be on papers that span the range between basic science and initial intervention development.

This special issue is particularly interested in studies that include diverse and representative samples and/or that explicitly address issues of race, ethnicity, and culture.

* Deadline for article proposals/letter of intent: December 3, 2021. Please submit article proposals/letters of intent by email directly to SOBC’s Project Coordinator, Deanna Lewis, at


Deadline for article proposals/letter of intent: December 3, 2021

Deadline for submission of full papers: February 10, 2022


November 2, 2021 | Sean D. Young, Ph.D., M.S. Presents: Reading Between the Tweets: Social Technologies for Predicting and Changing Health Behavior

Speaker: Sean D. Young, Ph.D., M.S.

Executive Director, University of California Institute for Prediction Technology

Associate Professor, Departments of Emergency Medicine and Informatics, University of California, Irvine

Date: November 2, 2021 – 1:00 p.m. ET to 2:00 p.m. ET

Location: VirtualNIH videocast >

Description: Social technologies and their associated data are increasingly being used as tools in public health research and practice. Examples include social media, mobile apps, internet searches, and wearable sensors. More than half the world (4.5 billion people) uses social media sites to create, share, and discuss content—often in the form of personal thoughts, behaviors, and clinical diagnoses. Dr. Young will discuss how social technologies and data (e.g., artificial intelligence and data science modeling) are being used to impact public health and how researchers and health departments/agencies might apply them in public health surveillance/intervention efforts. He will also present his team’s research on how these tools can be employed to predict and change health behaviors, and on implementation-related issues such as policy and ethical questions. The studies to be discussed involve populations affected by HIV, mental health and substance use disorders, car crashes, or COVID-19.

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Funding Opportunity | Columbia Roybal Center Pilot Award Program: Pilot Grants for Health Behavior Interventions

The NIA-funded Columbia Roybal Center for Fearless Behavior Change will fund one-year pilot studies relevant to developing health behavior interventions for patients who have suffered acute medical events. Our prior research has shown that many patients develop fear-based responses to these traumatic events (e.g., fear of recurrence, heightened distress from internal physiologic stimuli) that lead to avoidance of the very health behaviors (e.g., exercise, take medications regularly) that are recommended to prevent recurrence. Accordingly, our Center seeks to develop interventions that address these fear-related mechanisms. Relevant study populations include, but are not limited to, patients with stroke, myocardial infarction, cardiac arrest, COPD, heart failure, respiratory failure, COVID-19, or recent diagnosis with cancer or end-stage renal disease. Relevant behavioral outcomes include, but are not limited to, medication adherence, physical activity, sleep, as well as measures of psychological distress and quality of life. The goal of the award is to help investigators obtain preliminary data to support independent grant applications to the NIH or other funders. Applicants are encouraged to follow the experimental medicine approach to intervention development promoted by the Science of Behavior Change.

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Register for the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research’s Meeting on Optimal Longevity: Mechanisms of Healthspan & Reducing Health Disparities

Join ABMR for cutting-edge talks and discussion on longevity mechanisms and behavioral medicine


You are invited to attend a special meeting on healthy aging research sponsored by the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research—a society of senior researchers. Listen to cutting-edge presentations and high-level discussion on a broad range of factors shaping human healthspan, including the role of social stressors such as trauma, racism, climate change. We will dive into regulatory mechanisms (vagal tone, immune aging, microbiome, mitochondria, epigenetic clocks) and interventions (such as mindfulness, breathing, and hyperthermia). Hear leading experts on optimizing brain aging and longevity, and engage in thought provoking discussions to move the field forward.


This meeting will be held online via zoom October 8th-11th, and you will be invited to participate through zoom Q&A sessions. You will receive the zoom link in the week before the conference. Registration is $50 for students, and there is a sliding scale for general admission from $100 – $400. Like many events, this meeting had to be rescheduled several times due to the pandemic, and has become very expensive to host with financial losses. If you can afford one of the higher rates, ABMR greatly appreciates your support of their non-profit academic society!


October 7, 2021 | Guillaume Chevance, PhD Presentation: Thinking Health-related Behaviors in a Climate Change Context

On October 7th at 11am, Dr. Guillaume Chevance will give a Grand Rounds presentation on: Thinking Health-related Behaviors in a Climate Change Context.


Human activities have changed the biosphere so profoundly over the past two centuries that human induced climate change is now posing serious health-related treats to the current and future generations. Rapid actions from all scientific fields are needed to contribute to both the mitigation and adaption to climate change. This presentation will discuss the bi-directional associations between climate change effects (i.e., rising average temperatures, natural disasters, air pollution, rising sea level) and health-related behaviors, as well as a set of key actions/propositions for the behavioral medicine community.


To register, click here.

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Emerging Resources for Behavioral Scientists: Climate Change & Health

In the United States, behavioral scientists are gradually responding to the imperative need to address the climate change crisis and the detrimental effects it will have on human health and well-being. The leaders of the NIH Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) program are no exception. For the past 10 years, SOBC has supported scientists to engage in a rigorous and reproducible experimental medicine approach for early-phased, evidence-based interventions and further understand and identify the underlying mechanisms of behavior change. The primary mission of SOBC is to disseminate this approach and provide resources for behavioral scientists at every level to be applied to their research in an open and accessible manner. We continue to uphold this mission by providing the scientific community with the information and opportunities available that surround climate change. As you read this, the SOBC Resource and Coordinating Center is working to create a page solely dedicated to climate change resources, events, topics, and ways to get involved.


On this page, you will find the Request for Information (RFI) from the National Institutes of Health that will begin efforts for the NIH to support research that is focused on climate change and health. In addition, users will have access to relevant publications, including an upcoming Special Issue in Translational Behavioral Medicine. Further, this page will offer a central location for information regarding the work of some of the leading scientific societies like, American Psychological Association’s Climate Change Task Force, Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Presidential Working Group on Climate Change, Behavior Change & Health, and American Psychosomatic Society’s Climate Change, Sustainability, & Health Special Interest Group that are bringing climate and behavioral scientists together to address these accelerating risks. In 2021, the Academy for Behavioral Medicine Research and the Society of Behavioral Medicine both focused their annual conferences around climate change and promoted more opportunities for scientists to engage in this work in a meaningful way. There will only be more chances to learn about and join initiatives dedicated to climate change. We plan for this new addition of our website to offer the scientific community a live and interactive digital space where users can learn about these emerging opportunities, provide feedback, and engage with the Resource and Coordinating Center to further address and inform climate change and health to our community. If you have any questions or comments for us, please contact us at: For up-to-date information about SOBC and when this webpage is available, please follow us on Twitter (@SOBC_RCC)!


Subscribe to the Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) YouTube Channel

The Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) seeks to improve the understanding of underlying mechanisms of human behavior change by promoting research on the initiation, personalization, and maintenance of behavior change. SOBC aims to bring together basic and applied scientists across health-related behaviors, such as diet, exercise, and medication adherence, in order to develop more effective behavioral interventions. SOBC research is funded by the SOBC Common Fund Program in the Office of Strategic Coordination, Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Common Fund programs resonate with the missions of multiple Institutes, Centers, and Offices at the NIH. Its programs are intended to be transformative, cross-cutting, and unique. NIH staff from more than 15 Institutes, Centers, and Offices are involved in SOBC research and several of them are active members of the SOBC Research Network as Program Officials and Project Scientists associated with Network projects.


Visit and subscribe to the SOBC YouTube Channel here to access all recent presentation recordings.



June 1, 2021 | Jeff Huffman, MD Presentation: Developing and Testing Positive Psychology-based Interventions to Promote Physical Activity

Co-hosted with Columbia Roybal Center for Fearless Behavior Change on June 1st at 3pm EST,  Dr. Jeff Huffman will present on Developing and testing positive psychology-based interventions to promote physical activity.

To register: click here


Dr. Jeff Huffman is a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Director of the Cardiac Psychiatry Research Program.  His work has focused on developing scalable clinical interventions to improve mental health and health behaviors in people with heart disease and related medical conditions. This includes developing a positive psychology-based intervention program to promote physical activity among patients with recent acute cardiac events and those with more chronic conditions.  His work has led to more than 180 peer-reviewed publications, and he has received funding from multiple NIH institutes, the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the Templeton Foundation.