Joint ABMR-IBTN 2022 Winter Symposium

Optimizing digital behavior change interventions for all: from theory to practice, co-presented by the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research (ABMR) and the International Behavioural Trials Network (IBTN) as a virtual half-day symposium on Thursday, February 24, 2022.

Optimizing digital behavior change interventions for all: from theory to practice

Thursday, February 24, 2022 – 11am to 2pm (Eastern Time) – 8am-11am (PST) – 4pm-7pm (CET)

Three-hour symposium including a 90-minute discussion period with all attendees to facilitate exchange and networking. Open to ABMR members and non-members, including researchers, clinicians, academics, trainees and health professionals. International attendees welcome!


Optimal Engagement in Digital Mental Health: Opportunities and Challenges

Patricia Areán, PhD (University of Washington)

Patricia Areán, PhD is a professor in the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, a licensed clinical psychologist and the Director of the UW ALACRITY Center. Her research focuses on the recognition and treatment of mental disorders in underserved populations, particularly in recognition and treatment of depression.  She leads a research and training group known for developing, studying, increasing access to and implementing user friendly, high quality behavioral interventions for mood as it presents in chronic illness, aging, low income and ethnic minority populations, in a variety of service settings: mental health, primary care, senior services, and mobile health platforms. She is recognized for her innovative work in remote research methods.

Capitalizing on Wearable Technology to Engineer Person-Specific Behavioral Interventions

David Conroy, PhD (Pennsylvania State University)

David Conroy, PhD is a Professor at The Pennsylvania State University. His research aims to make behavior change less effortful and more enjoyable. This work seeks to realize the vision of precision behavioral interventions by leveraging information about people in context to promote health behaviors at critical moments of opportunity and vulnerability. His ongoing research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. He currently serves as the President of the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) and invites you all to join him for the SBM annual meeting in Baltimore in April 2022.

Until we Burn the Chairs: Inbodied Interaction as a transitional, guerrilla interactive technology methodology for tools to help #makeNormalBetter, from individual to infrastructure

m.c. schraefel, phd,fbcs, ceng, cscs (university of southampton, uk)

m.c. schraefel, phd,fbcs, ceng, cscs, is Professor of Computer Science and Human Performance, Fellow, British Computer society (FBCS), Chartered Engineer (CEng), certified Nutritionist and Strength and Conditioning coach (CSCS), director and founder of the wellthLab for human systems interaction (, and current EPSRC Established Career Fellow, in Health Resilience Interactive Technologies. -m.c.’s work develops, innovates, and questions how interactive technologies and services can be co-designed and tested to support the mission to “help #makeNormalBetter 4all@scale.” m.c. also recommends pull-ups as a true path to nirvana, no matter age or ability, there’s a pull up for you (example paths). She looks forward to doing a few pull ups together with attendees prior to the panel.


Eric Hekler, PhD (University of California, San Diego )

Dr. Eric Hekler, PhD, is Professor & Interim Associate Dean, Community Partnerships, in the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science in the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), the Director of the Center for Wireless & Population Health Systems within the Qualcomm Institute at UCSD, and, past Interim Director and faculty member of the Design Lab at UCSD. Eric is a transdisciplinary researcher, educator, and practitioner who works at the intersection of public health (primary affiliation), health psychology (original training), design, and control systems engineering. His mission is to advance methods and processes that equitably serve people and practice towards a more vital, just, and resonantly diverse society and planet. He works towards this via advancing research methods and processes in the areas of: 1) optimizing adaptive behavioral interventions; 2 helping people help themselves: and 3) facilitating compassionate, anti-oppressive, systems-oriented collective action. He is recognized internationally as an expert in applied health science methods and digital health.


Simon L Bacon, PhD, FTOS, FCCS, FABMR (Concordia University)

Dr. Bacon’s research deals with the impact of health behaviours and lifestyle (e.g., physical activity, diet, weight management, stress) on chronic diseases (e.g., obesity, cardiovascular disease, and chronic lung disease). He utilises multiple methodologies including epidemiological, psychophysiological, systematic review, and behavioural trials designs. Currently, Dr. Bacon is the Canadian Institutes of Health Research SPOR Mentoring Chair in Innovative, Patient-Oriented, Behavioural Clinical Trials and a fellow of the Obesity Society, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. Prior to joining Concordia he completed his postdoctoral studies at the Duke University Medical Center, McGill University, Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, and the Montreal Heart Institute. In addition to Concordia, Dr. Bacon is co-director of the Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre (, a researcher at the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux du Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal (CIUSSS-NIM), and co-leads the International Behavioural Trials Network (


Kim Lavoie, PhD (University of Quebec in Montreal)

Dr. Kim Lavoie, PhD, FCPA, FABMR is a full professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Quebec at Montreal and holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Medicine. She is also Co-Director of the Montréal Behavioural Medicine Centre (MBMC), a researcher at the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et service sociaux du Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal (CIUSSS-NIM), and co-lead of the International Behavioural Trials Network (IBTN). Dr. Lavoie is internationally recognized for her research on the impact of psychological and behavioural factors on the development and progression of cardiovascular and lung diseases, and the impact of behavioural interventions, e.g., motivational communication, exercise, and behavioural weight loss, on key health behaviours and outcomes in chronic lung disease. Over the last year she has been co-leading the international COVID-19 study, the iCARE study which has over 100,000 responses from over 200 countries. Dr. Lavoie also serves as a behavioural sciences expert on the Canadian COVID-19 Expert Advisory Panel.


Eli Puterman, PhD (University of British Columbia)

Dr. Eli Puterman is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Kinesiology and the Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Health. His research, developed in collaboration with community, seeks to develop, evaluate, and disseminate physical activity programs and initiatives among hard to reach and equity-deserving populations. Dr. Puterman’s work has been recognized with several young scholar awards, including from the Society of Behavioral Medicine (2014), the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research (2015), and the International Society for Psychoneuroendocrinology (2018). Dr. Puterman is an Associate Editor for Health Psychology, serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation, and is an Executive Member of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research Executive Council.