Summer School 2018 Retrospective

IBTN 2018 Summer School graduates Anda Dragomir and Vincent Gosselin-Boucher offer a retrospective on their experience of the program last May in Montréal.

Scientific conferences are unique learning opportunities offering an interactive context which encourages international networking and enlightened discussions. These have the potential to inspire new projects, collaborations and ideas for innovation.

The International Behavioural Trial Network was created to tackle important current challenges in behavioural trial design, implementation and dissemination, so as to improve the impact of behavioural trials and the reach of behavioural medicine field as a whole. This goal was achieved with flying colours, at the 2018 conference and the Inaugural Summer School.

Summer school participants were selected from across the world to take part in the scientific festivities and it all started with a Welcome Dinner where various icebreaking activities were a success, keeping the conversation and the laughs going throughout the evening.

During the rest of week of the Inaugural IBTN Summer School, trainees were able to attend lectures and workshops on various topics such as: behavioural trials development, stakeholder engagement, feasibility and piloting, trial fidelity evaluation and implementation. Trainees had the privilege to meet and spend time in close quarters with world leading researchers and put into practice all the theoretical knowledge delivered in the presentations. Under the tutelage of the brilliant and generous team leaders (Drs. Angela Alberga, Molly Byrne, Tavis Campbell, Susan Czajkowski, Kim Lavoie and Justin Presseau), trainees were invited to discuss and agree on the trial design, development and testing of a fictitious intervention. This activity proved an excellent method to quickly and efficiently practice and integrate the many important lessons delivered during the Summer School lectures. It was also a wonderful team building activity, where trainees with different levels of experience and various strengths were able to work together.

The IBTN Summer School offered an incredible opportunity to meet respected members of the international scientific community working in various areas of health psychology and behavioural change. This allowed students and young professionals to consider a multitude of career orientations, confirming that no matter if research questions focus on patients, health care professionals or policy makers, or they target chronic disease prevention, quality of life support or health care system reform, health psychology has the tools to examine them, thoughtfully and rigorously.